published August 24, 2017

By Amanda Griffin

How to Research a Potential Hire before the Interview

How can recruiters get to know a candidate before beginning the interview process? Find out here.

As a hiring manager, once you have narrowed down your list of potential candidates to determine which ones will be getting an interview, you want to find a way of narrowing down the list even more. Lucky for interviewers, researching a candidate is easier than ever with the use of the internet. An interviewer should be able to know who the candidate is before they even start the interview by examining their social media and online profiles.

Interviewers want to see things like education, personality, hobbies, personal drive, and more, but finding out these kinds of considerations can be hard with just a resume and cover letter to go off of.  Even if you are able to narrow down your list of potential candidates to the ones you want to interview, it can be hard to really find out the true character of a candidate during an interview when they are on their guard to come off as professional and experienced as possible.

Taking measures to run additional screening is important to ensure that you are offering to hire the best possible employee for your team. Retention is hard in our society where employees are always looking for a better opportunity or fit for their needs. Making the right decision the first time may help keep employees around longer. The cost and time that goes into hiring new employees is something every company wants to avoid if possible.

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Check these sources when hiring:

LinkedIn – While LinkedIn is a type of social media platform, it caters to the professional side of people so you will be able to learn about their professional tendencies. By examining their profile, you will be able to get a better understanding of how serious they take their career and this job opportunity. Those serious about their career will have an updated and complete profile that is professional.

With LinkedIn you will be able to view the candidate’s network and their interests in order to see if they align with your company’s. For example, if you are hiring for a technology position but their profile shows no signs of interest in the tech industry then you may be concerned about their qualifications and interest in the position.

Social Media – Social media sites are the best ways of researching the maturity of a candidate and discovering what kind of hobbies and interests the candidate has. An organization needs employees that reflect their values, not someone who will reflect poorly on the company. An individual that is actively applying for jobs will know that their social media profiles are vulnerable to being viewed by potential employers so they should have it cleaned up. If the candidate does not have their profile cleaned up, then they are not taking their job search seriously, or much of anything.

Social media sites worth checking include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr and Pinterest. Some of these sites may seem like a strange place to research a candidate, but trying to paint a picture of what this candidate is like in terms of their passions and interests will help you determine if they are a good fit for your company. Taking a simple look at their screen name is a quick and easy way of learning about a candidate. You may learn that a candidate is really into rock climbing, which would fit in perfectly with your company’s annual rock climbing party at the local sports center. Finding ways of ensuring you make the best hire possible for your company is not only about the responsibilities and qualifications of the job. Workplace culture plays a large part in the success of a new hire.

Resume References – Following up with a candidate’s references is important to ensure the candidate has the experiences, traits, and qualifications they claim to have. References are also able to provide a firsthand account of the candidate’s work ethics. Other parts of the resume that can be researched include their education and past work experiences. Research their listed school’s to make sure they exist. The same goes for their work experience. Conduct basic Google searches to learn more about the past companies they have worked for. The reason for researching these topics is to gather information that can be used during an interview. You may learn that a past position ended because the business went out of business.

Google Search – Running a basic Google search will help you learn more about the candidate and their history. You might find that the candidate has been featured in several newspaper articles for their work with the homeless. Their resume may state their volunteer experience, but having a second source to verify information adds a new level of validity.

What to do when a candidate has little to no presence online

The scenario plays out where you have a resume in front of you that you try to research by running their name through some searches but find no results. The reasons behind this are numerous and worth asking the candidate about. Some candidates know they have bad things in their past so they try to erase these things. Others simply are private and don’t care for having a profile on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Still, some candidates may be just learning about their career and the importance of an online presence.

Don’t rule a candidate out completely just because they don’t have social media profiles. If the candidate has the qualifications and experience you want, use the lack of research you found on them during the interview to find out their reasons for not being online and ask them questions about their hobbies and interests so you can still determine if they would be a good culture fit for the company. However, if the position you are hiring for requires a candidate to have a strong online presence then it may be best to move on to the next candidate.

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