Employee Verification and Social Media – An HR Manager’s Dilemma

Technology has affected all aspects of our life and has provided us with new channels for expressing ourselves. All of us today have the ability to stay connected with our friends 24/7, voice our unrestrained opinion via blogs, forums, and promote ourselves via personalized websites. This influx of technology has also resulted in an abundance of jobs in the software industry such as software code writer, Internet marketing manager, among others. As the job opportunities grow in this market so does the need for talent.

This in-depth integration of social media in our daily lives has presented HR managers with unique opportunities and challenges, for screening new talent. Before we proceed and discuss the complications and the judgment call an HR manager needs to make let’s check out a few tools that can be part of an HR manager’s employee background verification arsenal.

1. Employee Verification via Google Search:

The following Google commands can help an HR manager get the ball rolling for a basic online employee background check.

  • Enter the name of the person applying for the job in quotes (“ ”) and Google should be able to pull up internet footprint’s for the candidate in question.

Example: If the candidates name is Hari Sadu then type “Hari Sadu” in the Google search bar. I suggest being a little more detailed and including the person’s location of residence or last job within the quotes i.e. “Hari Sadu Hyderabad.”

  • If the candidate you are hiring is still working in a company, then you could enter:

Site: candidate’s company name “Candidates Name.” Example Site:Microsoft.com “Hari Sadu Hyderabad”

  • You can also head over to the People Search section on the Jantakhoj website to find details about the candidate you are hiring.
  • Yet another option is the bphonebook syntax: the bphonebook command in the Google search bar will help you search business phone numbers. It is especially helpful when the HR manager wants to reach someone in the candidate’s place of employment.

Example: bphonebook:Intel will pull up information to get in touch with Intel

2. Employee Verification via username:

Sometimes people that are professionally related to the Internet marketing field provide their online username in their resume, the username is used to showcase the work they might have done online. An example would be a Social Media expert showcasing the tweaks he has made to his Facebook page, or a person showcasing the quality and/or number of his Twitter followers.

A HR manager can use Pipl or PeekYou to search for a candidate via his/her online username. The query returns the candidates online accounts created with the searched username – consistence in the candidates profile and expertise mentioned, across all the web 2.0 platforms can provide a level of confidence in the candidate’s background.

3. Employee Verification via Who.is:

Usually software programmers refer to a website to showcase their area of expertise. HR can use the Who.Is to check whether the mentioned website belongs to the candidate or not.

Based on the tools mentioned above an HR manager can gather sufficient information about a candidate’s online persona  and its consistency with the information provided during the pre-employment process. Having access to the above information does not necessarily make the decision making process easier.

Participation in blogs and forums kept aside, most of us use Internet as an extension of our personal life and we really don’t have any control over what others post or say about us online. For instance, consider a case wherein an HR manager has two equally qualified candidates that he thinks will make a good fit in the organization. Doing a Google search for the first candidate returns his/her Facebook page. Browsing through the candidate’s page reveals that he has set the necessary privacy filters. However, the HR manager finds pictures of the first candidate on his friends Facebook page that show him smoking and drinking.

On doing a similar check on the second candidate, Google returns  pages that reflects only his/her educational and professional accomplishments. The question that arises for consideration is to what extent an HR manager should take into account information extracted from social media sites.

Most of us live two different lives. On one hand, we maintain a very professional demeanor in the work place and on the other we tend to be entirely different at home. Adding this additional information that is gleaned from social media sites to the mix makes the decision making process taxing.

The rate at which technology is evolving and the impact it has on our professional and personal life cannot be ignored. Online sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. can provide invaluable information about a candidate during the pre and post-employment cycle. The missing piece of information that can help HR managers build  an unbiased decision is to have an in-depth employer, educational, address and criminal check done for the candidate under scrutiny. The cumulative offline and online information collected about the candidate can help eliminate any confusion resulting from a partial view of the employee’s background.

We at JantaKhoj can help you make a concrete decision about the candidate you might hire.  Reach us on 040 42007092 or sales@jantakhoj.com to get a free sample of the employee background verification services we provide.

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