8Screening Social Media

We strongly recommend you review the social media behaviors of potential candidates. Social media posts, activities, and profiles are indicators of the habits and character of potential candidates.

Over the years we’ve heard from some managers and candidates that a social media review is an “invasion of privacy.” We disagree, because social media is not a private activity, but manifestly public. (We certainly don’t recommend less than ethical methods to examine candidates’ online activities.)

An example is helpful here. Consider the candidate who answers all of your screening questions well and seems to have the right background and experience. You bring him in for a full day of onsite interviews. This is the final step in your hiring process.

During that day of interviews, per our recommendation (explained later), you schedule a brown-bag lunch for him and three or four of your direct reports who are interviewing him that day. You’re clear with him that this is not an interview, but nevertheless a chance to get to know him better in an informal setting. [When you’re next a candidate, don’t forget that, even when you’re not interviewing, you’re still being evaluated.] You’re also clear that this is a chance for him to get to know you and the people he’ll be working with.

During the lunch, your candidate is a surprisingly sloppy eater. He gets food on his face—which happens to us all—but then wipes it on his sleeve. He doesn’t use his napkin to wipe ...

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