3 Things an Employer Looks for When Checking A Candidate's Social Media

It is no secret that many employers are using candidate’s social media accounts as part of their vetting process and for good reason.  It is extremely expensive for a company to bring someone onboard only for them to be a bad hire. Some candidates are really good at playing a role during the interview process. They have mastered the art of selling themselves and telling employers what they want to hear, only to be a completely different person once they get the job. 

This is why social media is so helpful. 

The more information an employer can gather about a candidate, the more they can make an informed decision about whether this person will do well in their firm. More times than not, people are their true selves on social media. Employers want to be sure that the candidate they are seeing in the interview will be the same candidate once they begin the position. 

So what exactly are employers looking for when they view a candidate’s social media? Here are 3 things:

Are They Active on Social Media? 

Some people believe that they can bypass an employer getting into their personal life by not being active on social media. This isn’t exactly the best strategy. Social media is huge and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. By not being active on social media, or worse, not having a social media account at all does not help ease an employer’s concerns about whether a candidate would be a good fit. If a candidate does not have a social media profile in 2016, it automatically raises suspicions about whether the candidate has something to hide or whether the candidate is current with the times. Granted, very few employers will refuse to hire someone for not being active on social media, but being MIA on social media certainly does not help candidates because the next two questions remain uncertain. 

Will They Be A Good Fit?

This is probably the most important thing an employer looks for in a candidate’s social media. So much can be learned about a person by viewing the types of statuses they write, articles they repost and comments made on other’s statuses etc. Are they a generally positive and upbeat person or are they constantly complaining and spewing negativity? Is there any activity that can embarrass the firm? An employer can learn not only the candidate’s personality and interests, but also if there are any values that are not aligned with the employer’s. For example, a civil rights law firm would not consider someone who writes racially discriminatory remarks in their statuses to be a good fit for their firm or aligned with their values. 

Can They Do the Job? 

An employer is looking for evidence that supports the candidate can do the job if hired. If the position requires excellent communication skills, how well does the candidate write? If the position requires a particular expertise, has the candidate demonstrated their thought leadership on that topic through their posts? 

Of course these questions can be answered through other mediums, but social media gives an employer a less contrived method to obtain these answers and allows the to feel more comfortable in their hiring decision.