Facebook is a popular form of social media that has transformed many aspects of our daily lives. People interact through this medium on a personal level with family and friends. Businesses and companies use it to reach out to their markets. Nearly every type of hobby, interest, and pastime has a presence and a following on Facebook. The success of using Facebook is its ease in accessing different people in a low cost manner.

One of the aspects of Facebook that attracts recruiters is each user’s online presence. Information and backgrounds of individuals can be gained from the profile of most people on Facebook.  It displays each person’s background, interests and activities. It also gives an idea of how they conduct themselves and interact with others. If a profile is public, how an individual comments can reflect their personality and way of thinking.

Facebook can be a great resource for screening candidates. It can provide a lot of information in a way that is open and cost-effective. However, there are some limitations on its effectiveness.

Pros of Facebook Candidate Screening

Facebook offers a forum for users that is engaging in the way people interface. The site is full of comments, discussions and interactions that are multi-dimensional. Digital conversations take place that can say a lot about the users.

Facebook is one of the most popular forums on the internet right now. There is a lot of activity on the site. Users are continually updating their profiles and information for the benefit of Friends.

Unless settings are set to private, information on someone’s profile is accessible to anyone. Pre-employment and background checks can be expensive and time consuming. While Facebook is not a substitute for these types of screening methods, it offers a low cost way to get information.

Cons of Screening Candidates on Facebook

One of the negative aspects with screening through Facebook is too much reliance on it.  Online activity may not give a complete representation of someone as a candidate.  Many people use Facebook as a private activity without thinking it can be used in consideration of a job.

Relying on Facebook could also bring legal implications. An argument could be made that what someone posts online has nothing to do with the ability to do a job. Employers need to consider this as part of the recruitment process.

An interesting 2009 survey by Careerbuilder showed what employers looked at while considering employees through social network sites. Content that encouraged hiring include profiles that showed candidates who were creative, well-rounded, had good communication skills.  The criteria that discouraged hiring, included inappropriate comments, admission of drug use, and negative comments about previous employers.  Facebook can be a good tool to use but there are limitations, so keep this in mind before using this to screen your candidates.

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