As social media usage has become more popular, so has some controversy, which has lead to an increase in employees being fired over social media posts. To sidestep these conflicts, many employers are doing research on their potential hires through their published social media accounts. If you haven’t done this yet, it’s something many experts say you should consider.

Using Social Media as Research on Job Candidates

The resume and cover letter are old staples, but with so much information readily available, there’s no reason to ignore it. Social media platforms provide great insight into the personalities, priorities and attitude of potential hires.

Most employers who check social media activity report they have changed their mind and not hired a candidate based on their posts. However, there are some employers who’ve been impressed with the level of professionalism sent over the popular social media sites by some candidates, moving them up in the rank.

It’s worth mentioning that using social media to research candidates should not be misconstrued as using it as a way to screen or discriminate against candidates. This distinction is extremely important.

What to Monitor on Current Employees’ Social Media Sites

If you have a staff that never had to pass the social media content “tests” to be hired, it doesn’t mean you should never take a glance at what they post. Some industry experts say you should only look at an employee’s social media feed if you have a clear reason to do so. Others, however, say monitoring social media is a way to avoid a larger conflict.

Again, if you decide to monitor your employees’ social media, you should be concerned only with posts that directly relate to your company, your clients or your customers. Other content, more personal, should not be weighed as heavily.

If You Monitor Any Social Media, You Must Do This

Employees in the workforce today are well aware that employers are beginning to check social media activity before hiring and even after an employment contract is signed. While it’s something they should take seriously and even consider before they make a post, the purpose of social media is not to impress employers. Therefore, it’s suggested by all business leaders who weigh in on this issue that employers should create and implement a social media policy.

A social media policy should describe in detail your expectations of employees’ behavior on social media platforms, in addition to any repercussions if these expectations aren’t met. You may need to include separate sections that break down office-hour posting, after-hour posting, information pertaining to client or confidential issues, or other industry specific guidelines.

Want Some 1-1 Guidance?

If you want an individualized plan for using social media monitoring or need help creating a social media policy, contact Principle Personnel.