The hiring process isn’t as simple as it used to be. In days of yore, you could look at a resume, have an interview with a candidate and potentially make a new hire relatively quickly. Today’s hiring practices often include a background check through a screening service, many rounds of interviews and tests and yes, social media. While getting a background check can be surprisingly easy, figuring out the hows and whats of social media during the hiring process can be a challenge. However, it’s an incredibly valuable and rich way to garner more information about potential job candidates – in fact, 37% of hiring managers use social media during the hiring process. If you’re planning to use social media during your search for candidates, try these steps to finding job seekers on social media:

Create a checklist

Because using social media to look up job candidates can often reveal protected information, many hiring managers may shy away from using it. However, you can still use social media during candidate screenings as long as you do it carefully and are consistent. Before you look up a single social profile, make sure you have a checklist of things that you’re looking for. For example, if you’re hiring a writer, you may want to check to see if a job candidate’s tweets are well-written and typo-free. Make sure you know what you’re looking for before you go hunting wildly through a job candidate’s pictures or status updates. This can not only help ensure that you’re using social media consistently for all candidates, it can also help you stay organized.

Look for inconsistencies with a background check

Just like you could compare a resume to a background check, you can also verify social media information. Job candidates often list things like educational background and employment history on social media platforms. Use a screening service to help verify that this information is accurate. This could help you weed out potentially dishonest employees – after all, if a candidate is lying to their social network, they may not be entirely honest in an interview, either.

Don’t just look for negatives

Although many hiring managers use social media to look for negative aspects of a candidate, you can also use social media in a more proactive and positive way. For example, instead of simply looking for reasons not to hire a candidate, you might wish to see how they interact with others. Is the candidate helpful in pointing people to other resources and articles? Do they join in conversations in a helpful manner? Social media might be a great way to see how your potential job candidates interact with others in their off time. This may be a great chance to see if they’re well-rounded and would accentuate the company culture.

Know the rules

Of course, because of the nature of social media, you may find out information that falls under protection. For example, learning a candidate’s race or age may feel inevitable on social media. One tactic that may be helpful is to hold off on social media screening until you’ve already met a candidate in person. You may wish to learn more about the laws for protected information in your own state before you begin performing social media screening.

Bonus tip: Use social media in the pre hiring phase

Social media isn’t just a great tool for evaluating candidates. It can also be an excellent way to find more talent. If your company runs social media accounts, don’t forget to include job postings to these accounts as part of the pre hiring phase. Candidates who come in through these postings may have already shown an interest in the company. Contact us to discuss social media screening!