Resume vs. Social Media: Where to Focus When Evaluating Candidates

It’s been an interesting time for hiring and recruitment in recent years. As the global economy weathered and began recovering from the massive recession of the last decade, technology and social media advances exploded. Job seekers reached beyond traditional tools like resumes and portfolios, as they tried every means available to progress their careers in the face of financial chaos. This includes, of course, the social media.

Candidates are – or at least they should be – considering their LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and various other online tactics as part of the overall image they present to potential employers. And as an employer, what’s your best approach to finding top talent – relying on a strong resume and successful interviews, or evaluating candidates based on their social media presence?

The answer is: yes!

Use all the Tools Available

As you recruit and retain top talent, use both traditional and social media to your advantage. A candidate’s resume should remain the primary tool in your recruitment arsenal, and a prospective employee’s image and performance during job interviews are equally telling. But by no means should you disregard additional information available on their public social media pages.

As noted by Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, “because social media is a dominant form of communication today, you can certainly learn a lot about a person by viewing their public, online persona. However, hiring managers and HR departments have to make a careful, determined decision as to whether information found online is relevant to the candidates’ qualifications for the job.”

CareerBuilder recently surveyed more than 2,300 employers on the use of social media for recruitment purposes. The study revealed that:

  • Thirty-seven percent of companies used social media to research potential candidates and another 11 percent said they plan to start.
  • Forty-five percent of respondents said they used social media as a screening tool.

Social media enable you to evaluate candidates’ characters and personalities outside the confines of more traditional resumes and interviews. As indicated in the CareerBuilder survey, you can:

  • See if candidates present themselves professionally, as done by 65 percent of respondents.
  • Determine whether individuals are a good fit for your company culture, like 51 percent of those surveyed.
  • Learn more about candidates’ qualifications (45 percent).
  • Determine whether candidates are well-rounded (35 percent).
  • Look for any red flags indicating you should reconsider hiring a person (12 percent).

Thirty-four percent of companies found information that caused them not to hire candidates based on online information ranging from descriptions of inappropriate behavior to that which contradicted their listed qualifications.

On a positive note, 29 percent of hiring managers said they found something that sealed their decision to hire an individual, such as:

  • Confirming a good feeling about a candidate’s personality (58 percent).
  • Conveyance of a positive professional image (55 percent).
  • Background information that supported business qualifications (54 percent).
  • A wide range of interests (51 percent).
  • Strong communication skills (49 percent).
  • Creativity (44 percent).
  • Strong references (34 percent).

A person’s online persona is a kind of extended resume. When perusing it, keep in mind that while it can be very helpful, some of the material may be inaccurate and it may present an incomplete overall candidate picture. Use your professional experience and judgment – and consider partnering with a recruitment expert for optimal results in evaluating potential employees. To learn more, contact Employment Professionals Canada today!