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How to Screen Potential Candidates Online, Fire in the office, New site coming soon : 05 Dec 2012

Fire trucks outside the office is never good. It turned out there was a small fire, started by a faulty fan in the bathroom. No fire, smoke or water damage but the power was off for half the day. As a result we're a little late with today's newsletter.

Last month saw the highest number of downloaded CVs in our history (347). Thank you to the 'Innovators' and 'Early adapters' that have given this new method of recruiting a go. "Hello 'Early majority', call me. We're doing some great work here". 'Late majority' and 'Laggards', I'll be with you soon.

The early mail; We have a new web site due for initial release in the very near future. It's like HealthyPeople, but on STEROIDS! Stay tuned.

Enjoy the article...

Call it what you will
; data mining, identity research, online screening or social recruiting, no matter what the term, more than 90% of employers use social media to screen employees.

This online screening can be an important part of your due diligence ? using public information posted by the candidates themselves. If, like many employers, you are looking into the Internet presence of your potential hires, here are a few ways to make sure you do it right.

1. Start With a Search
No one these days should be surprised at just how much information you can find with a Google search. Of course, a search can be clouded by results if a candidate has a common name, so digging a bit deeper into their resume to cross-reference employment claims, association membership or volunteer work is handy.

2. Don’t Wait to Check Their Profiles
Start researching candidates before your first contact to arrange an interview or call. Many candidates can be short-sighted in regards to their online personas, only cleaning them up once they know someone is interested. And even then, a 2010 study showed that half of applicants would not change or delete content from their profiles, even if they knew a potential employer would be checking their page.


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3. Find Candidates Who Build a Brand
While (too) many potential employees torpedo their job hopes with inappropriate pictures, political rants or dubious associations, just as many are responsible administrators of their online persona. These candidates will be readily identifiable with even modest searching. Here are a few things to look for on major social networks:

  • Facebook ? Look for candidates who share content related to their industry, rather than updates about where they partied last night.
  • LinkedIn ? LinkedIn should be every recruiter’s dream. Many people will use it just to share their job status and resumes, but with the wide range of discussion forums and online networking tools, LinkedIn makes it easy to identify candidates who are engaged in the industry and looking to advance.
  • Twitter ? While Facebook pictures can tell you a lot about someone, how a candidate interacts with a global audience can be more telling. Look for people who engage positively and intelligibly with people and companies.

4. Look for Repetitive Behaviour, Not Isolated Incidents
Look beyond occasional images and posts to see if the applicant has a personality or sense of humour that would fit with your company. Only if the candidate shows a pattern of objectionable behaviour should you consider losing their application.

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5. Don’t Penalise Responsible Candidates
It can be tempting to respond negatively to candidates that have their online presence so locked-down (or nonexistent) that you can’t find any information. Is this candidate too good to be true or just hiding something? More often than not, it just means that the candidate is a responsible manager of their online presence.

A potential employee who is responsible enough to moderate their social media will probably make a responsible employee. Rather than penalising employees who show little information, dig into the information they have provided. Call their references, review their contacts on LinkedIn and prepare some extra questions for an interview.

6. Be Cautious With Your Screening
There is no law against looking online, but there is a law against discriminating based on something seen online. If a candidate believes they are being discriminated against as a result of something you've seen or read, you may find your precious time and money consumed by an unplanned legal stoush.

7. Don’t Let Your Screening be the End of the Story.
If a candidate looks great on paper, don’t let a few online indiscretions rule them out. Follow up on their interests and passions in an interview and ask for reasonable clarification of any concerns you may have.

Have a great week,

Dennis Hosking
Managing Director - HealthyPeople
This was adapted from this article.


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