Hiring professionals understand that the candidate they see during the interview process is an idealized version of that person. He or she will be on his or her best behavior in an attempt to impress the employer.
This means candidates generally try to put their best foot forward. It also means they may omit certain details about themselves that employers would like to know. However, many people — some unwittingly — practically put their entire lives out in the open as a matter of public record.
Social media makes it possible for people to share virtually anything about themselves, making it a useful tool for hiring professionals to get a sense of the real person behind the resume. However, investigating a job candidate’s Facebook or Twitter page comes with some risks.
For example, while a person’s online presence may give employers valuable insight into how well that person works with others, it also can reveal “protected” information such as race or gender. This can put HR managers in a difficult position.
Hiring professionals need to tread lightly when it comes to reviewing job seekers’ personal pages and blogs. For more information about screening social media and when it is appropriate, take a look at the accompanying checklist.