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Social Media’s Role in Pre-Employment Screening

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Industry Expo 2015

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Industry Expo 2015

This year during FIDM Career Center’s Industry Expo, we asked recruiters from BCBG, PacSun, Quiksilver, Zappos, and Kellwood a series of questions about their strategies in employment selection. Among these questions included the role of social media in pre-employment screening. While there are still some talent acquisition professionals, like Darlene from the VF Corporation, who interviews candidates “based on skill and not by what they do on social media,” many recruiters are taking it a step further by checking their candidate’s social media profiles. The question is, what is it that they’re looking for?

One of the most important things employers look for in the hiring process are red flags, so what better way to do that than with social media? “Your social media portfolio gives a true picture of who you are. You can present who you want to be in an interview, but your Instagram is going to tell me something different,” Zappos recruiter Ashley Rather says. Oftentimes, job candidates walk into an interview rehearsed and prepared with what to say, so pre-employment screening through social media is a way for recruiters to see the real you. It gives them a chance to “dig a little deeper,” as Kellwood corporate recruiter Brooke Sexton would say.

You can tell a lot about a person just by viewing the “About” section of their Facebook profile, the topics that they tweet about, and the content of their Instagram page. Stephanie Sherwood, the College Relations Specialist at BCBG, cites that she views her candidate’s profiles to “understand their own personal brand,” and by personal brand she means their “creativity, sense of style, hobbies, and overall personality.” In other words, if you’re in the running for an open position at BCBG, and you’re wearing an oversized hoodie, a pair of baggy sweatpants, and Nike tennis shoes in your profile photo, there’s a slight possibility that BCBG would pick another job candidate over you. Sherwood also states, “[Social media] is a fun way to see if [candidates] are a good fit for our brand.”

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