Why Online Research is Necessary before Making Your Hiring Decision

Posted by Bernie Reifkind on December 16, 2014

It is absolutely critical that employers do online research prior to interviewing anyone no matter what their qualifications. Social media can offer a bonanza of information on just about anyone. With the advent of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, You Tube, Instagram, Twitter etc. employers can at least get a glimpse of the candidate behind the resume.

Never before in the history of business is so much information available to employers before making a hiring decision.

In the past an employer who received a good resume from a well-qualified applicant would just call the candidate and set up a telephone interview. Or just set up a face to face interview.

The ability to research social media is a huge asset to employers before an interview. That is why it is extremely important that all of us should think long and hard before posting anything on the internet. Good, bad or indifferent.

In doing online research about an applicant, a simple visit to Google can open up a treasure trove of information on someone that would never appear on a resume. Visit LinkedIn and in most cases you can actually see a picture of the applicant.

Every hire is a risk both financially and in company morale. Doing online research can help mitigate a bad hiring decision. Consider the following:

  • Someone’s Facebook page can be a first interview; if you don’t like a person there, you probably won’t like working with them. The bad news for employers, though, who are hoping to take the Facebook shortcut: many profiles are restricted in what the public can access. Why stop at Facebook?
  • Check out LinkedIn. A bad LinkedIn profile is a red flag. Does the profile match the person’s resume? To be fair, many people on LinkedIn do not keep current their profile but that can be a huge mistake. Make no bones about it, employers are using (and should be using LinkedIn) to pre-screen a prospective applicant. In addition, employers are looking at an applicant’s picture. Advice to anyone on LinkedIn: make sure your picture is a professional “head shot” and not some casual picture on the ski slopes with a Budweiser in hand.
  • More and more employers will follow someone on twitter and see what they tweet about. Again, if you do not like the person’s tweets than you probably won’t like working with them.

Checking social networking accounts is about learning as much about the character and makeup of the candidate as possible. In fact, who a candidate responds to and agrees with online, can be just as revealing as personal updates and comments.

There are certain questions hiring agents aren’t allowed to ask during interviews, especially if they’re of a personal nature. A social media search offers a peek into a candidate’s life. So even if the interviewer can’t ask questions about personal activities and beliefs, he or she can search the candidate’s digital footprint to make sure personal beliefs won’t clash with the company’s message or harm their reputation.

Interviews never tell the whole story. With job interviews, a candidate will tell the interviewer what he or she wants to hear, but it might necessarily be the way they feel. Also, an online presence might be a good indication of work ethic.

In summary, doing online research is critical to making a good hiring decision. And where better to look than social media? Social media is a convenient way to interact and keep in touch with others, and can be a terrific tool in for employers.

A warning to applicants: be conscious of the items you’re posting or agreeing with online. Social media is a virtual version of you – make sure that it is an accurate, appropriate representation.

Here at Premier Search we’ll teach you a little known online research secret.  We can be reached at (800) 801-1400.

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