Tracking the Facebook activities of potential employees

17 Mar

Present-day laws and regulations make it particularly difficult for an employer to fire an employee once the contracts have been signed and the first few months of employment have passed. But what do you, as an employer, do when you end up hiring the wrong person? Some would say that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this is the very reason why so many recruitment teams and business owners spend time tracking the Facebook and other social media platform activities of potential employees before taking the plunge and making an offer to hire/employ.

What to look for and what to overlook

It’s one thing to say that you should be tracking the Facebook activities of potential employees, but what are you actually looking for? It all really depends on the type of position you are trying to fill and what type of person you would like in that specific role.

It’s an accepted fact that some personalities just aren’t good fits with the culture of certain teams and it is, therefore, a good idea to weed those personalities out of the running as early on as possible. Checking (or trawling) the social media accounts of potential employees will often give a good indication of their ‘fit’.

Here’s what to look for:

  • What is the candidate known for online?
  • What type of content is the candidate posting, ie. do the posts appear to be positive or disruptive?
  • Does the candidate appear to have any particular themes?
  • Do the candidate’s online activities show them to check or uncheck boxes when it comes to the job requirements?
  • Are their online activities in conflict of interest for your business?

Protection of Personal Information

As an employee, you need to take care when screening candidates that you remain neutral and that if you turn down a candidate after a social screening, that your decision could not be seen as unfair discrimination.

For example, if you are looking for a new integral member for an animal rescue team and you notice that a potential employee consistently writes posts in support of animal cruelty, it would not be unfair or unreasonable to offer the post to another applicant, based on the screening.

However, you cannot discriminate against applicants based on personal agendas or preferences.

Last Word

Undertaking “snooping or screening” activity should shine a light on just how easy it is to gather personal information on a person or entity. That being said; carry out your online investigations on potential employees responsibly and with the professionalism that you would expect yourself. This will ensure that you use the intel ethically and that you don’t create an unnecessary media storm! Good luck in finding the right new employee for your team.

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