Leveraging Social Media in your Talent Processes? Friend or Foe?

Whether we like or not, social media is now embedded in many of the key workplace activities the HR function is accountable for and has proven to be an effective recruitment partner in connecting with talent. However, what if it was a candidate’s online reputation and credentials that convinced you to hire that candidate rather than the usual testing and interview processes?

So much commentary so far has rightly focused on the risks of social media in the workplace and there are some great examples that prove this point. However, as social media pervades everything we do in and out of work, there are now good reasons to consider what it can do to help both individual careers and the workplace recruitment.

How well you know a candidate is a critical piece of insight that helps you make better hiring decisions. Culture eats strategy for breakfast and so an A grade employee who is also a strong culture fit is hiring gold. But evidencing culture fit is hard.

  • Are the behavioural interview questions insightful enough?
  • Does a qualification, achieved years ago, reflect what your business now requires?
  • Can multiple interviews with the team give this insight?
  • Did interview nerves get in the way of seeing the ‘real’ candidate.

The answers are sometimes yes, but not always and rarely consistently.

Social media and a candidate’s online footprint can be the key to getting relevant insights into a candidates online reputation. With many recruiters confirming that they use social media to review candidates and in a CareerBuilder survey in 2016, they found that when social media was used, 44% of candidates  were hired because their background supported the job qualifications and they had a professional image and 43% found the candidate’s personality on social media was a good for their company culture. Used wisely and in context, the best thing a candidate’s online reputation gives you is an insight into how a candidate acts over time, the value of their network as well as other relevant experiences.

However, its important that HR and Talent teams optimise their talent processes to navigate the potential issues that social media creates if not used effectively. Privacy, transparency and alignment to actual role needs are the main reasons HR has hesitated to date to fully embrace social media as part of the hiring decision process.

Managing privacy requirements is a key issue that has candidates, businesses and HR a little uncertain. A consent driven approach, clear role requirements and only aggregating data that is needed for the role are key to successful integration of social media into the overall recruitment decision making process. Getting consent for reviewing online reputations is consistent with every other component of the recruitment process and increasingly, candidates are keen to showcase core elements of their digital reputation if the processes are professional and transparent. With over 65% of employers already reviewing candidates on social and finding reasons both for, and against hiring, its now relevant for HR teams to take a deeper dive into how to navigate this and look at what is best for their business needs.

The biggest opportunity for HR teams in leveraging social media is the insights it gives to understand the core soft skills the candidate brings to a role. Will they fit the culture? How well do they cope with change? What are their problem solving skills and similar. Skills we know are increasingly critical to the workplace as roles change dramatically via automation. The ability to identify these candidates and bring them into the business or equally importantly, promote them from within the business will be one of the more value added activities can provide to executive leadership teams.

Bringing social media more actively into overall talent management processes is a key enabler for better talent decisions across the businesses. A clear social media policy, a transparent consent driven policy and a clear focus on what matters for the role are measures that HR can implement to overcome current barriers to innovating talent processes to meet rapidly changing workplace requirements.

To learn more about Social Media scoring for recruitment, keep an eye open for our ‘Ask the Expert’ Event in June with Fiona McLean, CEO of The Social Index.