5 Things You Should Research About A Candidate Online


The days of walking into a business or practice and handing whoever is there your resume to apply for a job seem to be far gone. Nowadays everything is conducted online, and most businesses and practices are moving in that direction if they are not there already.

So with most of our lives being conducted online, and most applicants applying online, what are some things that you as an employer should be looking for, or looking into online about a candidate? 

We decided to break this concept down and give you some tangible tips and practices you can walk away with and implement.

How Big Is Their Digital Footprint?

Considering most employers use LinkedIn in order to research a potential candidate or applicant, odds are that you are using that as well. There's nothing wrong with using this, but there are some key things we should be looking for as well. 

We want to make sure that their profiles are completely built out and seemingly up-to-date with the resume that was presented to us, and if it isn't, then we know that they are not actively maintaining their social media professional presence on the platform.  This can be seen as positively as if they are not spending that much time on social media and instead on their professional development, and it can also be seen negatively as they are not prioritizing their networking.

 That differentiation is up to you.

We also want to ensure that if they are claiming to be in an industry where portfolios would be necessary and required, that we can find their website easily in order to view these portfolios before ever speaking with them if it was not submitted with their initial resume. This will give us a good idea as to some of the previous things they worked on.

Do They Use Social Media Inappropriately?

This is something that I was told ever since the origins of social media as we know it today: “Remember that anything you put on social media will be there forever and that anybody can see it.”  While this isn't completely true anymore with privacy settings and being able to go back and delete previous posts, the aspects of how this is seen stay the same.

When we say using social media inappropriately, this can be up to the decision-making of the HR individual that is looking into the candidate, or whoever is in charge of hiring. We would recommend having established deal-breakers before beginning the process, and then it is up to the discretion of the employer to dictate whether they want to even allow the candidate to speak to their concerns.

If a candidate has their profiles in a more private setting, then there is not too much to be done in regards to that, but it is important to commend them for taking their own digital privacy seriously and being able to separate that away from their public views.

There have been a number of businesses that have been known to ask for the social media logins for candidates in order to ensure that nothing inappropriate is happening before they are representing their company or practice, however, these are typically extreme measures for very large scale companies and is not typically appropriate for most businesses.

Does Their Personality fit?

One thing that is always spoken about is company culture, but sometimes it doesn't really feel like you can determine whether a candidate will fit in until they are actually hired. This is where reviewing their social media would also be recommended.

For example, if you are a company or practice that is seeking someone very dedicated to your industry or craft, reviewing their LinkedIn may be a good idea to see how informed and active they are within their respective industry. 

Yet, if you are seeking someone that is more of a team player, it may be a good idea to review their Facebook or LinkedIn to see what kind of content they're sharing. Is it comical in nature? Does it tend to be things that are not very controversial? Do they seem very hard-headed in their opinions that they are portraying in the public domain? 

Is important to remember that almost all of these can be taken both negatively and positively depending on what is being sought after from you, the employer, and depending on the industry. 

Does Their Professional Website Or LinkedIn Align With Their Resume?

It's well-known that positions typically are exaggerated on resumes, and accomplishments and responsibilities tend to be embellished. Ultimately, there's no real way to confirm these other than calling their previous employer to verify their position and what dates they worked there. A key point to be able to verify these would be across their various platforms. 

The easiest way to do this initially would be via their LinkedIn page.  Go to their profile and look over their previous positions, titles, and responsibilities, and cross-reference these with the resume that was given to you. If all of these align, then that's a good sign. Keep an eye out for discrepancies so you're able to bring these up during your interview with the candidate.

The next platform to check would be their website. If you are in an occupation that typically requires a portfolio or website, this would have been submitted with their resume. Going on to their website and verifying the completed end products that they claim they accomplished on their resume would be very valuable. If you don't see the appropriate end products, this would be something you would be able to request from the candidate.

Background Checks

This is something that most employers are probably very familiar with, but there are still some things you need to know that are important. The first of which is that certain kinds of checks that you want to conduct will require the candidate’s permission in order to pull that information. This is most common with transcripts and credit scores.

There are also certain laws depending on the state and country that you are in that dictate how you are allowed to go about conducting a background check, and what information are you able to legally acquire and base judgment off of. It is highly advised to always confer with the legal statutes in your respective County, State, and Country before proceeding. 

Continue To Provide A Fair And Equal Opportunity.

While you are doing your online research through things that may not necessarily be background checks, it is important that no matter what you discover to still provide a fair and equal opportunity to that candidate. Discriminating based on factors that you may not simply agree with such as political affiliation, gender, or sexual orientation, are all still considered discriminatory practices.

In some states, you will be legally required to alert the candidate to any information that you have found about them, even if this was in the public domain. Reasons such as this are why it's even more important to make sure you do your own research on what are allowed and recommended procedures on a state-by-state basis.

Next Steps

Now that you have gone through the candidate online, and hopefully had a pleasant interview, or you are planning for the interview with the candidate,  you can follow some of our tips below for anything that you may still have some questions on. 

Posted in hiring process at 03/17/2021 2:00pm