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Did you know that social media has been around for almost 25 years? Its impact can be seen in just about everything from restaurants and retail to the highest level of the White House. It has become an enormous part of everyday life.

There’s no doubt of the unique benefits that social media provides to just about every industry—and the recruiting industry is no exception. We’ll dive more into that a little later, but first let’s make sure we have a clear understanding of what social media actually is.

What Exactly is Social Media?

Social media is defined as the different forms of online communication used by people to create networks, communities, and collectives to share information, ideas, messages, and videos. The first social media site was technically Six Degrees, which launched in 1997, but in 2002, Friendster, and the more well known, LinkedIn made their debuts. Since then, many other social media networks have come about and left their imprints in all of our lives.

The Impact of Social Media on the Staffing Process

The growth and convenience of social media has trickled into every industry imaginable, including staffing and recruiting. In a recent survey, it was discovered that nearly 70% of employees screen their candidates on social media. This is 10% more than what was reported just one year prior and a great way to run an informal background check to confirm an applicant’s qualifications for a position.

Social Media for Candidate Checks

Have you ever heard the saying that no one is more perfect than they are at a job interview, except maybe at birth? Rarely is it a “what you see is what you get” type of situation when interviewing candidates for an open position.

Social media gives staffing agencies a behind the scenes look at whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the culture of the company they are recruiting for. It can show positive aspects of an individual like community involvement, but it can also reveal negative behaviors like racism and hate-filled speech.

How many times have you heard a story of someone losing their job or ruining their reputation because of what they’ve posted online? They may have just been venting after a tough day of work or talking about a boss that they weren’t particularly fond of—but what they failed to keep in mind was that other people have access to what they share. Yes, it’s their page so technically they can post whatever they want, but there is always the chance that the post could be seen by a coworker, manager, or someone connected to the employer. Not everything needs to be shared online.

Employers are using social media more and more to ensure that they are not hiring the wrong people for their companies. Gone are the days where all an employer could rely on was a background check, a recommendation, and the interview. They want to make sure that they are getting a return on their investment and social media is helping them to achieve that.

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