social media

Do you check a candidate's social media profile before hiring?

by Gabi Anderson Courtney

Do you? Should you? Can you?

Well, there is a lot more to it than that. Did the person apply for a position of trust? Do they have to project a particular image? Would it bring the company into dispute if their personal beliefs hugely vary from what the company stands for? Would you loose clients if you employ them?

Let me start with a very easy scenario. You pop the candidate's name into Facebook / Twitter / Instagram or anywhere else and their account comes up as private. You simply do not need to go any further. This simply means that the person values their privacy and what they do in their own time, they want to keep private. Respect it. If you can't see it, neither can your clients.

What if the candidate has a public account but you don't exactly like what you see? Until their profile does not contain anything illegal, it does not affect their job performance, or it will not bring the company into dispute, it should not matter. 

So what should ring alarm bells? Any illegal activity (public display of drug use, for example). Anything that is in polar opposite of your company values. (If you are running a religious organization and your candidate publicly ridicules religion, they might not be the right choice for employment).

Can you ask someone to make their social media accounts private? No. Can you ask that they do not interact with clients on social media? Yes. The same does not apply for colleagues. If people working together want to interact on social media, it is out of your control. 

It is always wise to have a Social Media Policy that all new employees sign off on as part of the on-boarding process. Employees must take care to clarify whom they are representing when using social media. You have the right to ensure that someone's private opinion is not mistaken with your organization's official stand.

So what else can you insist on? You can specify that no images or video taken at company events and social occasions can be posted without prior written approval. (Do you really want your clients to see what your employees got up to at the Christmas party?)

You can insist that an employee does not engage in conduct online that is likely to bring the company into disrepute or otherwise damage its interests.

I also always advise my clients to include that employees must ensure that any content posted is not confidential or commercially sensitive or otherwise inappropriate for communication via social media. (Do you really want your competition to see the marketing plan you're working on?)

I have created hundreds of Social Media Policies, and they were all custom designed to every organization.

If you believe that you can benefit from a Social Media Policy designed specially for your requirements, drop me a line here or fill out the form below