Using Social Media to Screen Job Applicants – Yes or No?

Whether or not it’s ok to utilize social media profiles and/or a person’s social media activity during the applicant screening process is a question that often comes up when talking with HR pros or recruiters about using social media at work.

As usual, I’ve got some opinions about that question, and I recently was asked to share them on the Intuit Small Business blog by writer Kevin Casey. The short scoop is, I’m not a Fan of it.

Find out why by checking out the full interview on the Intuit blog – “Why It’s a Bad Idea to Check a Job Applicant’s Facebook Profile”.

So what do you think?

To Google or not to Google? That is the question. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your opinion as well!

For more great reading on this subject, check out one of the most popular posts on by my friend Laurie Ruettimann“Don’t Facebook Me: Why You Shouldn’t Google During the Recruiting Process”.

President & Chief Talent Strategist

Jennifer McClure is a Keynote Speaker, Talent Strategies Expert and Executive Coach who works with clients and companies in the areas of leadership development, communication and talent strategy. Jennifer McClure offers keynotes, workshops and training that inspire and empower business leaders to be more effective in their careers and as leaders of their organization’s most valuable resource – people.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

10 thoughts on “Using Social Media to Screen Job Applicants – Yes or No?

  1. I could not agree with you more. Most of the time there is no way to verify what the candidate has on Facebook and without verification, the information is basically useless.

  2. JMc…you know there are some of us who can legally find a great deal of information about anyone. But for the same reason you don’t read someone’s resume then hire them without an interview, you don’t look at someone’s social media “timeline” and dump them without interviewing them.

    When it comes to recruiting, all information is on the table; it is up to the recruiter and hiring manager to ask the proper questions to ascertain how important “found” information is to a hiring decision. Frankly, if you’re worried about something being found that might jeopardize your candidacy consider not having online in the first place.

    • Well said Steve! I do realize that “public” information on the web can be helpful (or hurtful) in the hiring process, but I like the order in which you placed its importance – after the interview process.

  3. Honestly… got to take it back a step further… how do you know you have the right profile? I like how the article suggests looking for inconsistencies between profiles… gasp who says I feel like feeding facebook and twitter with information to improve the data sets?

    • Good point Max! In many of my social recruiting presentations, I often highlight a public Facebook profile of another Jennifer McClure – which often is indexed higher than mine – which proves your point. She has many different views than me (and posts that information) and her profile photo is a white female with shoulder-length, brown hair – not too different than me. If someone were looking for my personal Facebook profile to decide whether or not to do business with me (and maybe has never seen me in person) – they might not decide in my favor if they happen upon that profile. 🙁

  4. I can see why social media is used to screen job applicants as a provider of staffing services. Social networking gives the employer/recruiter a better view of potential candidates in comparison to reading a resume per se.

    • I’ll have to disagree with you Staffing Services. But thanks for sharing your opinion!

      Sometimes a “better view” via social networks can includes lots of irrelevant information. Better to make your hiring decisions based upon good screening, interviewing, reference checking and legit background checks IMO.

  5. Jennifer – yes there’s lots of irrelevant information, but social media is a footprint that it’s hard to ignore. If there are signs out there on social media that the candidate is not all they portray, then there should be alarm bells ringing… that said, there’s a wavering definition of what is ‘private’ and what is not private these days – and it’s a case of judging what freely available information you take into account, and what you discard. Eventually candidates will realise that their online footprint could count against them…..

    • Thanks for the comment!

      I still think it’s a slippery slope. That said, if a company chooses to utilize social media activities as part of their hiring and vetting process, I still recommend having either a 3rd party perform the screening activities for all candidates to ensure consistency or someone outside the hiring process within the company.

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