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Friday, January 3, 2014

Hiring? Use technology to find the right job candidate

By Krill Bensonoff 

Every year, more employers are going online to learn as much as possible about job candidates. According to a Career Builder Study, two in five companies now use social media to screen applicants during the interview process.

A person's social media presence can provide valuable insight into interests, work ethic, and industry contacts.  Yet many hiring managers still aren't taking the time to conduct online research before making hiring decisions.

One simple web search can prevent hiring a person who might be a performance issue down the line. Here are a few ways you can use the internet to determine whether someone is a good fit for your organization.  

Resume verification  

More than half of resumes and applications contain falsifications, according to the Society of Human Resource Managers, and another 78 percent are misleading. Hiring managers can research past jobs online, both through comparing job histories on LinkedIn and looking for an online trail of a candidate's career milestones. Often bios remain long after an employee has exited an organization, so evidence of a candidate's past jobs may remain out there for several past jobs. If an applicant is currently employed, hiring managers can also verify current employment without contacting the person's current supervisor.  

Public displays of negativity

A person's social media photos and posts may lift a few red flags. While many assume this refers to pictures of drunken nights out with friends, many employers pay more attention to the nature of posts. An applicant who has a history of publicly complaining about employers or customers is likely not someone you'll want as a member of your staff.  

Predict frequent absences  

A candidate who has a history of frequently calling in sick for headaches or complaining about sore toenails may present an attendance problem once hired. Often these social media posts are a sign of hypochondria rather than true illness but either way, a person's online posts can provide information employers would otherwise be unable to obtain. Be aware, however, that sometimes such research can lead a hiring manager to make assumptions about a candidate that might not be true. In doing so, you may miss out on a great worker.  

Avoid drama  

Social media is full of drama queens who frequently air their dirty laundry for all the world to see. As workers, these drama queens can be problematic, especially if they insist on stirring up trouble to entertain themselves. At the very least, these people should be avoided because of the negativity they bring to an office. After reading these posts, you may benefit from meeting with the candidate to form a full picture of the type of personality the person has in real life, since people can sometimes put on a show for online friends.  

In conducting research, it's important to look at the big picture, rather than making broad assumptions based on a few posts. A good employee could have photos depicting a rare night out with friends that lead an employer to jump to the wrong conclusion. While online research can help an employer avoid hiring someone who will be the wrong fit for their particular organization, it must be used correctly to avoid basing hiring decisions on stereotypes.

Kirill Bensonoff is a founding partner at ComputerSupport.com, where he works with an extensive client list to help improve businesses' access to technology.

Image licenses: 1. Author owned and licensed