Should You Search Social Media Sites for Job Candidate Information?

This question has been up for discussion for quite a while. In more then 60% of the US recruiting companies researching the candidates online before asking them for an interview is a procedure, not a personal decision.

This is why, when I advise young professionals on their job hunt I firmly insist that they must carefully examine their profiles on social media and modify them in such a way that they are not japerdizing their professional persona. It was even Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, who said that due to the need to avoid weird Google results from your youth to come out on the surface, the near future could allow us laws to change our names upon reaching adulthood so that our social media teenage past is left behind.

It is also very important for the companies who look at social media to know why it is that they are there. Although it might be true, that there are many questions answered on the personal profiles of candidates, one should also remember the legislation and the personal data protection, to avoid lawsuits for discrimination, etc.

Thus, when looking for the applicants’ profiles, the corporations need to be very clear on what it is they are looking for. Thus, follow these simple questions:

  • Why do you want to use social media?
  • What information are you hoping to find?
  • Is the fact that an employee uses social media a bonus or a demerit?

Some HR professionals advise that recruiters maintain their searches only relevant to the position or the expertise of the individual. Thus, the pictures should not be looked at, while blogs, forums, groups and discussions are all fair game.  Although that might sound pretty straight forward it might get trickier if the consultant finds a really weird post included by the candidate. If the comments are discriminative or abusing, it might very well be time to look for another candidate. However, if the candidate likes French Fries with chocolate sauce, it doesn’t really matter, does it?

However, a candidate cannot leave it all for the recruiter to manage. It is also true, as Ms. Heather McGough, staffing consultant in Microsoft says, that “Candidates ought to be very aware of the consequences when they post information about their likes and dislikes or their abilities and inabilities. It’s only a matter of time before those comments will be common knowledge.”

What do you think? Have you had recruiters go through your social media presence (not the professional one… that is to be expected)? Have you had HRs comment on your content when you are at an interview?

Share your experience.


About Maria Bakardjieva

I am a licensed Social Media Strategist and Networking Coach who helps business and people position, grow and develop. I work at Explicata - an online marketing experts company. You can find us at
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