Social Media Screening: Guidance for Individuals and Organizations [SLIDESHARE]

Courtney Hunt
Courtney Hunt Founder, The Denovati Group

Posted on August 15th 2014

Social Media Screening: Guidance for Individuals and Organizations [SLIDESHARE]

Social media screening (aka social screening) has become a common practice among recruiters and hiring managers, as well as some coaches and college admissions offices. This white paper consolidates and updates previously shared guidance about this practice, providing recommendations for both individuals and organizations. It is primarily focused on job candidates and employers, but it can be applied to students, athletes, admissions offices and coaches as well. 

Social media screening (aka social screening) has become an almost commonplace recruiting and hiring practice. Employers are “googling” job candidates and searching social networking sites as part of their pre-employment background checks, and admissions counselors and coaches are using similar practices to make acceptance decisions about prospective students and athletes.

Results of a recent CareerBuilder study indicated that over half of the employers surveyed rejected applicants because of their social media content. Reasons included the obvious, like posting inappropriate photographs, information about drinking and drugs, and criminal behavior, to things that may not seem to be deal breakers, like poor communication skills and “unprofessional screen names.” The study found that social media activity worked in candidates’ favor as well, by demonstrating things like well roundedness and creativity.

A similar study, focused on college admissions, was conducted by Kaplan Test Prep in the summer of 2013. Although the percentage of admissions offices engaging in social media screening was not as high, they are also on the rise. A related article in the New York Times reveals that the reasons to reject – and accept – students based on their social media activity are similar to those used by employers (and be sure to check out the comments – almost 600 of them – to see what readers had to say about the practice).

College coaches also use social media to evaluate recruits. As with job candidates and college applicants, the classic “knowledge, skills, and abilities” combination is increasingly not the only criteria by which people are being evaluated and judged. Off-duty conduct (where permissible by law), as well as general communication (what you say, how you say it, and where, plus what you share) often provide additional insights into whether to accept or reject an individual.

I was recently interviewed for an article entitled “How Social Media Content Hurts Job Seekers,” which prompted me to consolidate and update the guidance I’ve previously shared about the practice of social media screening into a white paper. This guidance is primarily focused on job candidates and employers, but it can be applied to students, athletes, admissions offices and coaches as well.

Your Thoughts?

Though not everyone will agree with my conservative approach, I think it’s best to err on the side of caution. Please let me know if I’ve missed or misrepresented something. I welcome other people’s insights, healthy debate, and questions. The more we talk about these issues, the faster we’ll come to consensus on a set of best practices that are practical, legally defensible, and ethical. Since I am in the US and this post is written from the US perspective, I especially welcome input from folks in other countries.

The post Social Media Screening: Guidance for Individuals and Organizations appeared first on The Denovati Group.

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Courtney Hunt

Courtney Hunt

Founder, The Denovati Group

A Digital Era thought leader and strategist, Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD is an energetic, and passionate leader committed to helping individuals and organizations tackle key challenges and opportunities in strategic, innovative, efficient, and effective ways. In addition to the services she provides as a digital coach and consultant, she regularly demonstrates her expertise through presentations and workshops, blog posts, white papers, published articles and book chapters.

Courtney is the Founder and Principal of The Denovati* Group. The Denovati Group enhances the success of individuals and organizations in the Digital Era through an alliance that provides thought leadership and guidance, research, consulting and training services, and a professional community that fosters the sharing of information and best practices. The Denovati Group's primary brands are Denovati Solutions, SMART Resources, and SMART Courses (where SMART = Social Media And Related Technologies). 

Denovati Solutions: helps individuals and organizations function more efficiently and effectively in the Digital Era through the design and implementation of innovative and leading-edge strategies and programs (denovati-solutions.com).

SMART Resources: offer in-depth treatment of a variety of topics related to the applications and implications of social and digital technologies. These resources provide both strategic and tactical Digital Era guidance for individuals and organizations. They include the SMART Blog, as well as white papers, (e)books, and research reports, and graphically-oriented pieces that provide at-a-glance information (denovati.com/smart-resources).

SMART Courses: provide digital literacy training through an online platform that offers the benefits of text-based books, video tutorials, self-paced learning, and group-based instructor-led coaching in a single package (smart-courses.com). 

*The Denovati are Digital Era explorers, pathfinders and pioneers who seek to understand and effectively leverage social and digital technologies.

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