At a workshop the other day, a question was asked on how to conduct a social media audit of a candidate’s online persona as part of the recruitment process.
Is there a strategic way to critically analyze potential candidates through their online presence?
The recruitment and selection process is all about finding the ‘right fit’ – that candidate who can easily fit in with not just the job itself but with the culture of the company. We all know this can be tricky at the best of times. My HRM class has had long discussions about ‘what is the right fit’? Everyone is unique and most of the time, we hope to find that person who is that bit closer to the ‘right fit.’ Therefore, the steps taken to find the right candidate are to analyze the job, create the job description and the person specification. In summary, what the job entails, describing what the job entails and what skills and attributes are needed in the candidate to be able to do the job. As each industry has its own particular criteria, thus these elements are the best place to start. It is that invitation for candidates to apply.
With an increase of the number of applications for one job, the process tends to be a timely one. Luckily for some, there are pieces of software that we can avail of like ICIMS. However, smaller businesses need to find ways to work around this option.
The fact that individuals have an online presence, paves the way for one screening process can be used to conduct an audit of potential candidates. Personal branding is such a useful tool to help individuals stand out – but it also helps recruiters save time to find that ‘right fit’. One question to ask is ‘who is actively creating their professional profile to develop their career?’
To help, I would advise creating a template (Example of general candidate online audit for recruitment and selection to get you started) based on the job description and person specification. This should enable you to systematically identify those candidates who should move to the next stage in the recruitment process. Not just that, but you should also be able to structure your interview based on what you find.
- You may begin by searching a search engine like Google. You may not receive many results as there will not be the only person in the world with that name so make sure you have the right person. You could search their name AND their location.
- Next, hopefully, they will have included their LinkedIn profile or any other platform that the candidate has included on their application. You do not need to connect with them to get an overview of their profile. If the individual has their account on private, then you will have to connect. Remember if you want to conduct the search discreetly, you will need to have a premium account to hide your activity.
- Depending on the industry, some candidates may have blogs, creative work, or projects that they may wish to share. Make sure to ask for these if you cannot find them online. They may have a mountain of work ready for you to view, but if they do not have it optimized, it could be lost and hard to find.
Finally, an important point to remember, we all have personal lives, so it is important not to judge the book by its cover too soon. I do advise my clients to stick to Google, LinkedIn, and one other platform. In reality, Facebook is personal at the best of times the same can be said with Instagram and Tiktok. However, these platforms are so important for those in creative work such as fashion, beauty, photography, illustrations, and so on. Know where your candidate might be and search there. Remind yourself, are you looking for the right fit or the wrong fit. Taking time to look for the wrong fit is futile.