Social media has changed nearly everything about how we work, and some high school educators are nixing traditional resumes altogether in favor of teaching students about building digital profiles.
Why? Social media offers job seekers opportunities they wouldn't have had 10 years ago — including an opportunity to display artistic work and an easier way to apply for job openings in a foreign market. The savviest job seekers are using social media to market themselves while integrating personal and professional branding.
In 2015, Pew Research Centers found that 35 percent of social media users have used the platforms to look for or research a job, and 34 percent used their own accounts to market themselves as job seekers. The increase in job seeker usage of social media makes talent acquisition one of the biggest reasons to integrate social media into your organization.
So, as an employer, how do you evaluate someone's digital footprint as effectively as you evaluate a traditional resume? Here are three things to consider when evaluating the online "resume" of the modern workforce.
Don't Cross Boundaries
Rob Walker, a columnist at The New York Times, cautions employers from using candidate's social media accounts as a means of finding out protected information. Don't connect to or "friend" a candidate just to see their private information—instead, focus on what the candidate makes public. Even as the lines between work and life blur, it's important to respect the privacy of potential employees.
Consider Personal Brand
Social media profiles often offer you more information than you would get on a resume. Reviewing a candidate's digital footprint across platforms can provide you with a sense of their personality and interests.
According to CareerBuilder's annual social recruitment survey, out of the 60 percent of employers use social media platforms to screen candidates, 32 percent found supplemental information that encouraged them to hire the candidate. What kind of information? For 43 percent of employers, it was a candidate's personality fit with company culture, and for 40 percent it was a candidate's well-roundedness, or wide range of interests.
Look for Creative Work
If you're hiring for a creative position, social media is oftentimes a helpful portrayal of the person's skills and work outside of their submitted portfolio. For example, if you're hiring a digital video editor, take a look at the candidate's YouTube channel to see where their inspiration comes from, and whether or not they showcase personal projects.
Even if the position isn't strictly "creative," social media still provides great insight into a candidate's creativity and ability to think outside the box. Scrolling through a candidate's Instagram profile might reveal that they have a knack for photography (and you might need some visual help on your website), or maybe they have a personal blog on Tumblr that demonstrates their writing abilities (and could be a contributor to your company blog!). Whatever it is, social can provide additional insight into a candidate's creative skills outside of the ones listed on your job description.
Overall, social media is a great tool for connecting people, personally and professionally. While traditional resumes are far from dead, social media is a great addition that can teach you a lot about the candidate. By ensuring that social media is part of your candidate review process, you can broaden your understanding of applicants, which should result in top talent for your organization.