74% of HR Professionals Are Liars: They Claim That They Don’t Research Candidates On Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn
I have a friend who is the associate director of a summer camp and each year she and her colleagues need to hire about 150 employees from cooks to counselors to tennis instructors. She and I met for lunch and she voiced her frustration about the not so smart things job seekers do.
“What is wrong with people? Why would I hire you to work with children when your Facebook profile picture is you holding a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and Bacardi in the other?” she said.
She does make an excellent point; this person isn’t applying to work at a bar or on Madison Avenue in the ‘60s, so they should probably lose the booze in their photo. One would think that this is a very OBVIOUS thing to do when conducting a job search and I know that this topic has been covered before on both the hiring and job seeking side of the industry, but clearly this message isn’t resonating.
Maybe this message isn’t resonating because there’s so much conflicting information out there about what employers look at when considering someone for a job? For example, last spring we at Nexxt conducted a survey and asked employers if they use social networks to conduct background checks during the hiring process and we discovered that only 26% of HR Pros are telling the truth. I’m sorry, but I find it hard to believe that 74% of employers said they don’t search for candidates on social networks during the hiring process.
Today, it’s second nature to immediately turn to Google, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to search for someone online. I’m not saying it should be a starting point, but it should definitely be in a recruiter’s bag of tricks. I can’t help but think that those who participated in the study are either not telling the truth or don’t know how to properly stalk search for someone online.
Here are a few things that you should know as an HR Pro when it comes to searching for a candidate online.
- Google: In general, you can find out a lot about someone from a simple Google search. Perhaps they have a blog, write fantastic reviews of restaurants on Yelp, or are raising money for charity. You never know what you’re going to find, which is exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
- Twitter: Twitter is intimidating to a lot of people with all the “#” & “@” symbols, but if you take a minute to read a tweet, it’s actually pretty easy. Added bonus—you don’t need to have a twitter account to see what someone posts—so you don’t even have to sign up.
- Facebook: Facebook changes their privacy settings more often than Taylor Swift changes boyfriends, so a lot of people may think that their accounts are private, but a lot of time they’re not. Plus, with graph search, you can see anyone’s images that they’re tagged in by searching for “photos of [person’s name]”. When you think about it, it’s pretty creepy.
- LinkedIn: Finding someone on LinkedIn is pretty easy as well, but before you start searching make sure you’re anonymous so that candidates they don’t see that you were searching for them.
Final thought from my friend--an offensive online presence could hurt a candidate as much as a candidate having no online presence at all.
“It makes me suspicious when I search for a candidate online and nothing comes back. It's 2015, who doesn’t have an online presence?!?!?”
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