As the US economy continues its slow recovery, I am sure that some of you are in recruiting mode.  I don’t claim a lot of expertise in this area, except to say that I’m always concerned when recruiters “feel” they have a good candidate without any validated methodology to back it up.

This article delves into the changes that have occurred in online recruiting, particularly for small business, though many of the concepts would apply for large ones as well.  Online recruiting was one of the first great services that the internet provided businesses.  The job/recruitment sites that sprouted online immediately allowed many more companies to search many more candidates (and vice versa) fairly quickly and easily.  That business has now matured and companies have made great strides in creating their own recruiting areas on their webpages.  Candidates and companies can also take matters more into their own hands via LinkedIn and other social media sites.

An interesting conversation is taking place among employee selection specialists about how much, if at all, employers should evaluate a candidate’s personal social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) as part of the recruitment/selection process.  I do not think there is that much valid data there, with the exception of how well a person maintains their network.  However, there is potentially a missed opportunity in a person’s more business-oriented social media presence.

In specialized fields, it is likely that your candidates are “connected” with others in your company in that field.  While many of these connections are casual, some are not.  Where one of your employees is linked with a candidate, you should ask the employee about the person. 

This is a good time to note that you will want to have a policy statement to your employees about how business-oriented social media will be used in the recruiting process.  For instance, letting employees know that while you won’t be searching their profiles, their names may appear while evaluating candidates.  Allow them to opt-in to be contacted if their name appears as a connection to someone you are recruiting.

These profiles have a lot of verifiable information (school, degrees, awards, previous employers).  More importantly, the profiles can indicate a person’s passion for the field, willingness to reach out to others for knowledge, and depth of interest in a profession.  These traits, and others, may be valuable.  Of course, if you are going to screen candidates on their business-oriented social media, you will want to validate the information by seeing if the data correlates with success with your current employees.  This will help you make better decisions and be able to defend the practice, if challenged. 

Do people make themselves look their best on social media?  Of course they do, but probably no more than they do in resumes or interviews.  Even with that in mind, there is a great opportunity to evaluate candidates on job related criteria online.

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