As CEO, be honest — do you look at potential employees’ social media accounts? If yes, what is it you expect to see from someone you WOULD hire?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
1. Positive and Professional
Whenever we are vetting new team members, we tend to do a little Internet sleuthing to find out more about the person. Social media accounts are a huge part of that. We will look at Twitter and Facebook accounts to get a feel for their communication style and attitude. A positive attitude and professional communication give us confidence that their interaction with clients will be the same.
2. Part of the Application
I ask for links to all social media accounts right on the job application, and always check them out before contacting the person for an interview. The reality these days is that all of your employees represent your company, and they need to be aware that what they do and say is public. If I see a Twitter account or public Facebook page filled with angry, negative rants, that person is out!
3. Don’t Actively Look
I don’t actively browse people’s accounts because I don’t want to see what they do in their private life; that’s not what I am hiring them for. However, if candidates send me their profiles for me to learn more about them, I click. If nothing is hidden, it’s a downside because they come across as taking privacy lightly. I prefer to get a link to a well-maintained résumé site or a LinkedIn profile.
4. Both Potential Employees and Current Employees
I regularly monitor social media accounts of my employees. Negative things that I watch out for are excessive profanity, inappropriate photos, and explicit and/or suggestive conversations. It gives you a window into who somebody really is as a person. Every single one of my employees represents my brand. Therefore, I want people who present themselves in a way consistent with our image.
5. Let Yourself Shine Online
Definitely. I personally maintain a private Twitter list of potential hires and monitor them over time, for example. But I’m primarily looking for familiarity with social media, a sense of humor, and a true passion for what our company is doing. Consistent negative updates are usually a deal-breaker.
6. A Quick Glance
I will look at the social media account of anyone I’m considering adding to my team — because of my field, I need to hire people who are already web savvy. But I also expect to need to give them some training and guidelines on what I expect to see on their accounts in the future. These are new tools and people aren’t always aware of what’s appropriate initially.
7. It’s Part of Your Brand
Absolutely, I do. The first thing I look at is a potential hire’s LinkedIn account and who I know that’s connected to him or her. We work with our clients to make sure their LinkedIn profile displays their professional brand in a positive way, and I expect the same from a potential employee.
8. Very Valuable Tool
I want to know that they fit the job description. For some positions social media is not relavant, but for some, I want to know if they are who they say they are and if they would fit my company culture. Social media is a great way to connect with anyone and also find out information about anyone. It is a tool, so use it as such.
9. In the Age of Transparency
Sure, I check them out; I like to see leaders and influencers. I stay away from shy people. We are in the age of transparency, and I want the members of my team to feel comfortable sharing their details online.
10. Absolutely Not!
I see little to gain by snooping on prospective employees personal social media accounts. I would fully expect to find them engaging in completely unprofessional activities outside of work as they should be. I’m more concerned about what kind of game face they can put on when the suit up in the office and judge them on their professional performance alone.
11. Social Media Doesn’t Lie!
People tend to always interview really well, and sometimes that means they choose to withhold certain information that prospective employers wouldn’t want to hear. Every employer should look at a potential employee’s social media to see how they truly behave as a person. as we’ve found this always does play into their work ethic and character in the workplace.
12. Time and Frequency
Yes. During the interview process, we consider social media use in the context of time and frequency. If an applicant is consistently active during working hours, that is the only real red flag for our business — unless they are managing company social media accounts. For a social media specialist, online presence is a job requirement; otherwise, it’s a distraction.
13. Smile on Social Media
In our business, we work with the public. Smiling and being friendly is important. I expect to see potential employee smiling in photos and socializing. If I see potential employees not smiling in any photos or posting photos of inappropriate behavior, I would not want that person serving my customers.