According to research carried
out by the CIPD in 2013 2 in 5 employers were looking at candidate’s online
activity at some stage during the recruitment process. In 2014 this figure grew
to approximately 91%.
The key stages were highlighted to be whilst reviewing a
CV ‘to decide on interview invitation’, post interview to ‘dig a little
deeper’, and at offer stage ‘just to be sure’. The same research also
identified that nearly all the employers that were looking on the web had
failed to inform their candidates that they would be carrying out these types
of online checks in-house.
It is widely accepted in the UK that employers have a
need and desire to learn more about candidates. With so many risks linked to
employees’ use of the web such as bullying, brand damage, and leakage of
sensitive data, now more than ever employers are taking time to carry out online social profile checks and to review social
media accounts, blog sites, professional networks, shopping habits and
personality trends across the internet before reaching a decision on who is the
best person for the job.
Who is at Risk?
Being able to ‘dig deeper’ using online social profile checks and searches can
reveal nuggets of truth that lie behind a CV, often these nuggets of truth
complete the jigsaw puzzle and can sway an employment decision either way. The
problem with in-house online checks is that in their crudest form e.g. a Google
or Facebook search using a first and last name, they are riddled with gaps,
inaccuracies, mistakes and misrepresentations; not to mention these checks give
an employer access to protected characteristics such as race, sexual
orientation and marital status which is a clear breach of UK HR and recruitment
legislation. These over simplified checks expose the employer to claims of subjectivity
or discrimination during the recruitment process.
Not only are these in-house online social profile checks breaching
legislation linked to protected characteristics but they are often incomplete
or being carried out on the wrong person. Research carried out by our company during
2013 identified that typically in-house searching only focused on the 'big 3’
- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In contrast, and as thought leaders in Online
Social Profiling, the SP Index can
reveal that from the hundreds of social networking sites and millions of pages
across the web on average candidates can be identified on 500% more sites over and
above the more established and most popular sites that would be the focus of any
in-house checks. These results can be categorised into a digital footprint of 7
components - blogging, shopping, personal data, social networks, professional
networks, news articles, and search engines.
We recently carried out a social
media ‘health check’ for one of our clients across 42 employees and discovered
that the digital footprint of this group included more than 54 individual
websites. Even for this small number of employees the results demonstrate that
an employer would have needed to screen 54 sites for every person (instead of only the big 3) in order
to gain a complete picture of an individual from their online profile.
What Does Social Media Tell Us?
The checking of candidate’s online activity is now common
place in the UK. The worrying thing is that with the introduction of these
inaccurate in-house searches there has been no guidance, training or support about
how to objectively interpret the content that is visible.
Research carried out
by IBM in 2013 demonstrated that it is now possible to discover if a candidate
is ‘work-shy’ or ‘lazy’ by analysing their tweets. IBM research showed that
there is a direct correlation between web based content across social networks
such as Twitter and their off line behavioural styles.
Research carried out by
SP Index in 2012 identified that there is a 67% chance that a candidate who is identified
as having online bullying tendencies will transfer such traits into a working
environment. Other independent studies have shown that to get a reasonable
match for someone’s personality they need to assess just 50 Tweets.
considering this activity as part of the pre-employment screening process the clear
problem is that it is impossible to review 50 posts across every site that a
person is active in order to reveal the whole truth - not unless the online social profile check is outsourced to a specialist Online Social Profiling business and
the checks can be carried out in a controlled, fair, compliant and
Using a 3rd Party To Carry Out Checks - The Benefits
Online Social Profiling is a complex, detailed activity
and when being used as a pre-employment check it is important to get accurate
and conclusive results. By using a 3rd party an employer is safe in the
knowledge that the candidate will be verified accurately, they will never get
the results of the wrong John Smith for example due to the specialised technology used and the matrix searching techniques that validate accuracy. The candidate is checked for
integrity issues such as incomplete details in their application or inconsistent
details relating to personal data such as address, age, and contact details.
By using a 3rd party to carry out an online social profile check
for your business there are some obvious time savings. For example, it takes only 90
seconds to order an online social profile check for 1 person but in practice it can
take an employer at least 90 seconds just to log into Facebook and accurately search
and find the right individual. After investing only 90 seconds of your time, a
specialist Online Social Profiling company will carry out research on your
behalf and deliver accurate and objective results back to you within just a few
days. Imagine the amount of time that your business has wasted searching online
during the last year!
Businesses that use specialist Online Social Profiling companies
have seen substantial return on their investment. Weatherbys Bank Ltd were nominated
finalists in the HR Excellence Awards 2014 in the category “Most Innovative Use
of HR Technology” due to their use of the SP Index system.
“Staff and reputation are two of the most valuable assets
of our company. Our investment in Online Social Profiling provides a
useful benchmark, which together with other metrics, ensure our staff remain
our highest priority. Their success ultimately promotes the company's reputation
for integrity and longevity.” said Andrew Turberville Smith, COO Weatherby’s Bank Ltd.
This same business saw a quantifiable return of £60,000
from a £3,800 investment into the services of a specialist Online Social
Profiling company during 2014.
Consult With An Expert
The evolution of Online
Social Profiling during the last 18 months makes it the perfect time to
strengthen and modernise your pre-employment checking processes. Online Social
Profiling is bursting with benefits that awaits your organisation and the SP
Index can offer advice and support to help you realise these. We are equipped
to assess your existing needs and processes and will support you to introduce
compliant use of Online Social Profiling for FREE!
a no obligation appointment with or a callback from an SP Index representative please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0845 177 0700.
Index is a thought leader in Online Social Profiling and is the UK's leading
supplier of compliant profiling.
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