TLNT Radio

Social Media Employee Screening: If You Do It, Make Sure You Do It Right

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One of our most popular posts on TLNT last year was one by Laurie Ruettimann about how you shouldn’t Google or Facebook her during the recruiting process. And every time we talk about social media screening, we get a healthy response from our readers.

While there seems to be a lot of interest in the subject, it is obvious that not many people are taking a regimented look at how to actually use the tools that are out there. And more importantly, how to avoid the pitfalls that come with it.

Social media screening

This week on TLNT Radio, I talked with Bill Glenn from background screening provider TalentWise about the use of social media as a screening tool. It was the result of a conversation we had at the HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas last month about how everyone seems to be inundating them with questions about how to use these tools effectively.

During our discussion, we covered a wide variety of topics on the subject of social media. Most importantly, our conversation focused on doing them the right way: consistently, using only public information and with the applicants knowledge and written consent.

I know that many employers aren’t using social media screening solutions (Glenn obviously advises you do so) and some are content just doing an occasional Google search on particular candidates. I won’t pretend that’s not what I’ve done in the past (nor what many HR professionals tell me they have done) but let’s not pretend that’s a great process.

Sourcing versus screening

Of course, one of the things I would have liked to get into is this idea that social media sourcing is a de factoscreen in and of itself and should be taken under the same precautions. As I posted a month ago about this very topic:

The point is, if you have humans as part of your sourcing process, you can as easily fall into the same traps that you do when you screen for candidates using social media. Excluding someone from a list of candidates is, in all practicality, the same as excluding them further down the line.

Now certainly the risks are different. As I mentioned above, a candidate who doesn’t even know they’ve been excluded from a recruiting list is almost a non-risk, especially in comparison to someone who has made it through several steps and then is excluded.

But isn’t it just as bad? Shouldn’t we be just as cautious as we are with social media sourcing as we are with social media screening?”

That’s the next step and maybe the issue we’ll talk about next when we tackle this subject again. As for now, take a listen in on the podcast below and let us know your thoughts on social media screening.

Lance Haun is an editor at The Starr Conspiracy, a marketing agency focused on the enterprise HCM market. He spent three years as an editor at ERE Media and seven years in the recruiting and HR trenches before joining the agency. You can follow him on Twitter, circle him on Google+, check out his blog or contact him directly at lance@coug.rs.