Marketing PRojects’ last eNews contained 25 Unusual Interview Questions and since then I seem to have become a bit of a sounding board for the use of social media in recruitment. I’m on YouTube at the 2012 Inside The Creative Industries Event at the North West Media Centre and as a result, have now been asked to help in a survey to help students (I hope!). My answers are below.

Have you ever used the Internet to investigate potential employees?

Yes. We use this all the time, 100%, along with profiling software after interview.

Which of the following sites do you look at?

Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google, Bing.

What prompted you to do so?

Thoroughness. Investment in people is critical, we like to minimise risk.

What in particular are you looking for on these sites?

What kind of person they really are. What the gaps in the CV disclose.

What do you see the benefits are of investigating potential employees online?

The time invested saves time and money in the long term.

What do you believe the negatives and positives to be for a potential employee with a strong online presence?

There are no negatives and positives really, it’s just another tool we can use. A strong online presence is like giving us the keys to their front door, inviting us to the pub with them and meeting their mates for a night in town with them. That’s fine for many but too hot to handle for a few. They need to remember that. It puts us, not them, in control of their image. And for some, worryingly their image 100% of their time.

Can you provide any specific examples of your experiences using social media within the recruitment process of potential employees?

We receive an average of 6 applications for positions a week. Any that look good are given to a junior member of staff to ‘social media’. We need to see an online presence, if not they are not considered. If this presence is unsuitable, they are not considered. It allows us to filter candidates. We have rejected individuals, one promising one in particular because they put on their facebook ‘Still xxxxxx after last night, feel like xxxx, phoned in sick.’ And others because they party too much or are linked to inappropriate content. We’re not looking for angels, but we want them to function at 100% at work and not embarrass or compromise our organisation.

I do hope that helps anyone for applying for a job in ANY sector.