Casey Hines | @caseyagogo The first question an employer should ask about a candidate when researching their social media should be "What does this person have to say about themselves?" LinkedIn is a great start for information that tends to be more professional, while Facebook and Twitter lean toward more personal content. Profiles tend to be pretty straightforward on LinkedIn when all information is filled out, and it's easy to quickly skim job history and skills. Always err on the side of professionalism when visiting profiles--be cautious when a member's job title is something casual or silly. It's one thing to be creative or eye catching, but another to sound like they're not planning on being taken seriously.
As you're navigating a candidate's Facebook, consider how private or public they choose their profile to be. Red flags include inappropriate pictures, disgruntled posts about their current job, excessive use of profanity, and information about excessive drinking or drug use (Use your best judgment. It's one thing if someone mentions getting a cocktail with a friend, but another if they repeatedly post about how smashed they get every weekend). Ask yourself: Are they involved in any activities that make you uncomfortable? Would you feel confident about this person representing your company? It's always interesting to see who posts legitimate information about their education and work history, versus those who leave their profile incomplete.
Use similar judgment on Twitter. Start with the short description on their profile page. How do they describe themselves in 140 characters? Who are they primarily Tweeting to, and what kind of content are they producing? Go with your instinct.
This may sound like the only purpose of social media screening is to dig up any negative information about the candidate in question. But it's also a good opportunity to learn about their creativity and what they're passionate about. Individuals posting content that's relevant to the industry they work in or desire to work in is always a plus. Follow any links provided to their blog or online portfolio, and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Background Checking Services
If you'd like to go deeper in researching an individual's background, there are a number of services that can assist you. Social Media Investigator, which tracks keywords across social media networks, is a popular one. This can double in use when it comes to researching candidates and keeping an eye on what's being said about your clients or competition. Not only does it offer tracking services, but is also a managing and monitoring platform for campaigns.
Social media can make or break the qualifications of a candidate. In this economy, job seekers will flock to you and it's an excellent tool to use when exploring who may be a right fit for your business.