The post below was contributed by Greg Moran, the CEO of Chequed.com, a Predictive Talent Selection suite used by organizations like Subway and Disney to hire better. You can keep up to date with Greg on twitter @CEOofChequed.
As the liability of a bad hire increases, recruiters around the world are embarking on the search for new, more effective means for finding the right candidates. Yet, there’s no reason to take to the hills or sail the seven seas if the plethora of social media remains untapped by your HR department. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn aren’t just about status updates and games like Farmville anymore. They also serve as great facilitators for the candidate selection process.
However, the question isn’t only whether or not you’re using social media, but whether you’re using it effectively. You won’t be surprised to learn that by only occasionally posting available positions or haphazardly firing out job alerts on Twitter won’t win the heart of many candidates. Rather, it’s important to use social media in a way that not only scans for potential candidates, but that truly connects your HR department with quality candidates.
But before we go any further, we must first note that while social media and web research can be invaluably beneficial, it is critical that prospective employers use such tools ethically. Recruiters are responsible for investigating candidate and reference checks in a manner that is objective and in accordance with legal standards (for more information checkout the legal issues of reference checking). Information pertaining to a candidate’s health, sexual orientation or religion should be avoided at best, ignored at the least. As long as such sentiments are clear, recruiters are encouraged to jump into the world of social media with enthusiasm and high expectations!
Earlier this year, Bullhorn and CareerXroads both released reports indicating that LinkedIn was the most relied upon social media tool of all recruiters. But there’s no reason to put all of your eggs in one basket! Get creative; branch out. For instance, the same Bullhorn report found that a Twitter follower is nearly three times more likely to apply to a job posting than a LinkedIn connection. Pinterest, the site of virtual personalized pin boards, and Foursquare, the individualized GPS system, are both great tools for researching a candidate’s background. Likewise, they can provide a fair amount of information regarding the candidate’s intentions and ambitions.
Similarly, wise recruiters understand that leading candidates can often be linked back to the references they provide and that these references may one day become job candidates themselves. Be sure to call upon the social media described above to learn more about the names listed as references on a candidate’s application. Doing so may not only validate the quality of the reference, but may also allow for a quality opportunity to network with the reference.
It’s important to understand that much of social media is user generated, indicating that your candidate may have carefully censored the information he or she made available. So to supplement the smorgasbord of sometimes-bias social media, don’t forget to include basic Google searches in your candidate selection process. Google has a tendency to turn up information that is not user generated, but that will be equally vital in your selection process, such as previous convictions.
While recruiting is an age-old field, the methods involved therein don’t need to be antiquated. Social media, when used effectively and ethically, allows human resource representatives to increase productivity, reduce total expenditure, and subsequently improve hiring outcomes. It’s an equation that makes sense.