Social media is everywhere. Daily news headlines are filled with stories of people who tweet or post inappropriate content that later finds them in hot water. Nowadays, companies are being put in the spotlight for the posts or tweets their employees put on social media. For example, the New York Times came under fire for hiring an editor who had posted racist comments several years ago. While the New York Times decided to keep this editor on their payroll, it caused them negative press and lost subscribers.

With such a strong focus today on social media, how can employers use it to make informed hiring decisions and prevent issues down the road?

Social Media Research: Now a Must For Employers

Today, 70 percent of employers admit to looking at the social media profiles of candidates before they put forward an offer letter. They are conducting this research to pre-screen candidates and prevent future corporate headaches. So, what should employers be looking for when reviewing a candidate’s social media profile?

The Good, Bad, and Really Ugly: Social Media Signs to Look for in a Candidate

The Good Signs

Professional Online Persona

When an employer finds a candidate with a professional social media profile, it can feel like they have hit the lottery. It shows a company that this candidate, at least by appearance, conducts themselves as a professional. It also demonstrates the candidate is unlikely to cause or attract negative attention that could impact the organization.

Information That Supports Background and Qualifications

If an employer can confirm a candidate’s background (educational experience) and qualifications (skills and past jobs) on social media, this serves as added insurance. For example, if a candidate claims to have a degree for XYU college and an employer can find a link to an alumni-only site, this is a good sign the candidate’s degree is real.

Positive Comments by Others

Social media is all about communication. Thus, if a social media search finds positive comments about a candidate, this is undoubtedly a good sign. More than likely, this candidate will be a team player and make a great co-worker.

The Bad, Very Bad Signs

Inappropriate Content (photos, comments, and posts)

Content that is racist, sexist, homophobic, or derogatory toward religions is always a big red flag. Not only does this information paint a rather unflattering view of the candidate, it can also pose a potential media risk to the corporation. If an employer hires a candidate with such content, it may put them in a defensive position if these comments are made public. Thus, it is best to pass on candidates who post very, toxic content.

Information Regarding Drinking and Drug Use

Drug use and drinking are definite red flags. While addiction is a sad and dire situation, if a candidate talks about their constant drinking and drug use, an employer should run far away. These personal substance abuse issues will only cause liability and problems in the future, should an employer hire this candidate.

Negative Comments Regarding Previous or Current Employers and Co-Workers

This can be a significant sign. If a candidate has bad-mouthed a current or former employer, this can spell trouble. While every employee has grievances to some extent, airing those publicly is unprofessional and denotes a negative attitude. Just imagine if you are the candidate’s employer, and it is you, your employees, and your company that is being trashed on social media. Negative comments on social media live forever and can have lasting impacts on businesses and cause a great deal of damage to corporate reputations.

Moving Forward

Social media is a powerful presence in all our lives. The profiles we create say a lot about us. For employers, looking at a candidate’s social media can be very enlightening in both positive and negative ways. When an employer finds too many red flags on social media, it may be time to look at another candidate.

Your Search is Over

Are you looking for employees who are talented, creative, and have professional social media profiles? At New Era HR Solutions, we provide our clients with candidates who are pre-screened and ready to join your team. Contact our staffing experts today to learn more

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