You could stick with the standard application-and-interview routine when you’re hiring new employees for your restaurant. But why not get creative and find out much, much more about what job seekers are really like by checking out their Facebook page or following them on Twitter? It turns out that social media sites have a lot to offer as personnel screening devices. Why not take advantage of them?
Many operator are all too familiar with job applicants who arrive bearing flawless resumes and then ace their job interviews, only to prove to be lousy people and worse employees once they start to work. That’s why every new hire is a crapshoot, even if you ask all the “right” questions during the interview and double-check all the references and previous employers listed on the resume.
But social media can be an effective tool that can increase your chances of making a successful hire. They enable you to see a different side of your job applicants, one that hasn’t been carefully crafted to appeal specifically to you.
Which explains why a recent study done by website CareerBuilder.com found that 45 percent of employers now use social media to document the backgrounds of job applicants. That’s twice of the number of companies that did so just a year ago. Another 11 percent of companies said they will be adopting this tactic soon.
OK, do those who use social media this way find anything of use? Thirty-five percent of the 2,667 managers and human resources personnel who responded to the survey said they had declined to offer a job to an applicant because of something they found on a social networking site.
Specifically, more than half of those who had passed on a candidate said they had done so because of racy or otherwise-goofy photos the applicant had posted on their personal site. Forty-four percent said that content that documented the applicant’s drinking activity or drug use convinced them to not hire that person. Thirty-five percent passed on a candidate because the person had bad-mouthed a previous employer. Twenty-four percent discovered that a candidate was lying about their qualifications.
On the positive side, 18 percent of respondents said they had found content on a social networking site that encouraged them to hire a candidate. So it can work both ways.
Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent went to Facebook, 26 percent used LinkedIn and 21 percent looked up potential hires on MySpace. Eleven percent of employers search blogs while seven percent follow candidates on Twitter. This survey was conducted in June, 2009, so you can anticipate that Facebook use is now higher, and MySpace use lower, today.
Is it creepy to spy on job candidates this way? We’ll leave that decision up to you. But at the rate HR departments across all industries are adopting this practice, we’re convinced it can be effective.