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7 months ago by Kevin Jarvis

What You Need to Know About Social Media Screening

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Social media can be a valuable resource when you’re in search of new candidates. The hiring process is tedious and at the end of the tunnel, you want a selection of candidates who will set your e-commerce business up for success. Social media is a free resource that gives you hints about a candidate’s personality and credibility, plus any red flags you should be concerned about. Even though social media is free for anyone to view, you must be careful as an employer to avoid any legal issues.
 

How social screening helps your talent search

Taking advantage of social media offers you a few important benefits, which is why more than 70 percent of employers use it as part of the screening process. Social screening offers all the following benefits:

  • Learn about the candidate without an interview. Before all scheduling and time investment of a phone, video or in-person interview, social screening can add a valuable first layer to your hiring process. You can learn more about a candidate through LinkedIn and cross-check what they claim on their application and resume. Other social media pages will give you a clue to their hobbies, interests and personality.
     
  • Discover passive candidates. The perfect match for your business isn’t always actively in search of a new job. But by looking on LinkedIn, you can access the profiles of all potential candidates who maintain a profile and contact then directly through the site.
     
  • Save money. Social media is free for all to use. If a potential candidate has any red flags, a social screen is cheaper than a background check.
     
  • Check social media skills. Let’s say you’re in search of candidates to do your company’s social media—one would hope their own social media pages are in good shape. This can give you an idea of the social media skills this candidate possesses.
     

What you need to know about legality

As an employer, you have a legal obligation NOT to base your hiring decision on factors such as gender, ethnicity, age and disability. When you view a candidate’s social media profiles, you may learn more about all these things—and unconsciously form a bias for or against a candidate. This can lead you into dangerous legal waters, as a candidate who feels they have been discriminated against can sue. 
 

When social media screening fails

It’s helpful, but not a be-all end-all. For example, what happens if the perfect candidate doesn’t use social media? Or if they do, what if they’ve misrepresented themselves to create a specific online persona? It’s possible that social media can give you the wrong impression - and nothing replaces the value of actually meeting a candidate in person during an interview.
 

Social screening - best practices

When it comes to social screening, should you or shouldn’t you? This is a decision you’ll need to make for your business, and the majority of employers opt in. But if you decide to use social media as part of your screening process, it helps to follow a few key tips:

  • Stick to professional social pages—such as LinkedIn. This way, you’ll avoid any unconscious bias that may occur.
     
  • Fix up your own business profiles. You can research candidates, but they can also research you. Represent your e-commerce business and maintain your brand reputation through attractive and up-to-date social pages.
     
  • Don’t take the information too seriously. It could be a candidate is too busy working to spruce up their LinkedIn profile. Social media gives you a glimpse, but might not be a candidate’s whole story.
     
  • Understand the law. Before you even attempt to use social screening as part of your hiring process, understand both federal and state laws. This way, you can be sure to avoid legal concerns.
     
  • Outsource screening and reference checks. If you’re worried about handling the screening process correctly, simply outsource it to a company who specializes in screening, such as a staffing agency.
     
  • Don’t base your hiring decision just on social media. This should only be a small part of your screening process. Use other screening methods, as well, to land on your final hiring decision.

Though social media can be a valuable resource for your screening process, it’s not a perfect solution. It’s cost effective, but could leave to legal repercussions, and takes some finesse to use it correctly. In the end, your hiring process is entirely up to you, and should include steps that help you find and hire the candidates who help to make your e-commerce business successful.
 

Check out Jarvis Cole!

We’re a staffing partner who specializes in the e-commerce industry. Our experience spans years and our reach spans the globe—all to help you find the perfect candidates. To learn more about us and the staffing services we offer, contact Jarvis Cole today!