Social Media Vetting — What Could Go Wrong?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are you checking out social media sites as part of your hiring process? If so, you’re not alone. While you may think social media vetting is a clever way to learn more about your favorite candidates, you’re potentially opening yourself up to some problems.

Social Media Vetting

A new report from Modern Hire reveals just how common the use of social media vetting has become during the hiring process. At the top of the hiring funnel, recruiters use sites like LinkedIn to find potential employees. Then, when the hiring process is nearly complete, social media surfaces again. After the candidates have taken behavioral assessments and interviewed with various stakeholders in your company, the background check often includes a broader scan of social media. How helpful is the information that employers glean from their review of social sites? Here's what researchers know.

Where Social Media Intelligence Fails

Like other employers, you’re likely struggling to land solid candidates for your open sales positions. Our research shows that at least 22% of sales managers use social media as a tool in determining who to hire.

Candidate Backlash

Candidates don’t always love this approach. Many job seekers believe a prospective employer who digs deep into the social media history of job applicants is being invasive. Beyond that, research shows that relying on data found on social media is not predictive of how well a candidate will do in your sales organization.

Internal Bias

Social media can also cast a negative light on the attempts you’ve made to remove bias from the hiring process in your organization. Finding out through social media that a candidate has attended a political rally in support of a cause you don’t like shouldn’t be the reason you disqualify them from proceeding further in your hiring process. In fact, making a decision like that marks you as being out of touch with the latest trends. In the recent past, job seekers were cautioned to clean up their act on social media,. Now, most younger job applicants, reports Modern Hire, believe a strong social media presence can increase their chances of getting hired. If you decline to pursue a candidate because of a detail you don’t like on their social sites, you could lose out on hiring an A‑level sales professionals.

Focus on the Right Intelligence When Hiring

The staffers involved in recruiting new members to your company should be focused on finding the right person to do the job. They may want to consider the Four Fits of Hiring discussed by SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith. It’s appropriate to determine whether a candidate will be suited to the type of client you serve and to your organization in general.

How do you know if a candidate will succeed in your organization? Comprehensive pre-​hire sales assessments will show you a candidate’s natural job fit. After all, some individuals are naturally suited for customer service roles.. Other candidates will thrive in business development positions. Psychometric assessments will reveal how your candidate is likely to react under stress and what truly motivates them. You’ll also learn how well they’ll work with your management style. If there’s a significant compatibility issue, you may still decide to hire a favorite candidate. But understand that you’ll need to adjust your approach when coaching this individual. On the other hand, you may end up rejecting a candidate who isn’t coaching and clearly isn’t a good fit with the type of products you sell.

When you combine the predictive assessment information with the data you obtain from their resume, references and interview, you have a more complete understanding of the person you hope to hire. That approach reduces bias in your hiring process. And it increases the chances of bringing a top performer into your organization.

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