By Anthony Sherick, Director, Technojobs

There are two ways of interpreting the use of social media: firstly as a tool for recruitment, and secondly as a screening process for candidates. In regards to using social media as a tool for recruitment it is certainly not an integral or essential component of the process although it can of course be used to promote an employer brand to candidates and reinforce your brands status and appeal. Social media should largely be used simply as a way to warm a candidate to a company. It is inevitable that employers will use social media to profile candidates, and for some industries, such as IT and technology, it is essential that a candidate has a professional presence on the internet and this is something employers may possibly be on the lookout for.

Given that we are living in an age where nearly everyone has an online footprint and social media accounts, it’s unsurprising that the temptation for employers to scout out their potential employee is often too great. This can be used to the advantage of both the employer and employee, as the employer can see whether the candidate in engaging in the relevant industry online and the employee can suit their online profile to the jobs they are looking at. Of course, social media is usually not used for professional means only, and old photos or standings may circulate for years that aren’t reflective of the candidate today. Both parties must be aware of this potential pitfall and make sure that personal social media profiles are not used as a substantial part of the application process — they should be careful not to use it to paint a definitive picture of candidates. Personal social media accounts or online references maybe historic or do not reflect the true professional ability of the applicant and therefore employers should ideally focus on key criteria such as experience, achievements, qualifications.

Other skills such as the candidate’s CV, communication skills, work experience and qualifications should continue to play the most important role in assessing their ability to work within your company. What’s more, suitable candidates have the potential of being filtered out too early based on subjective factors, such as the university they attended. Nowadays, employing someone is about much more than the university they graduated from.

We all know that we lead separate professional and private lives, and this should be respected when we are looking at potential new employees. Candidates must also remember, of course, to manage their online profile and reputation. In todays technology obsessed world, social media has the ability to make or break a first impression be this rightly or wrongly.