Social media users show innovation and adaptability. Candidates who use social media well demonstrate an ability to utilize relevant means of communication in modern society. As employers, investigating the social media presence of potential candidates can reveal strengths and weaknesses that a resume and cover letter cannot.

Social media is an ever-changing landscape of images, words, and the occasional video. There are a number of ways to use social media, and the best candidates will use them to accomplish a goal. The goal could be to find a job, to project their professionalism, to establish themselves as travel resources, or to raise awareness for a topic. No matter what the goal of your potential candidate is, look at whether they accomplish it.

There is also an element of time in social media that does not exist in a resume or cover letter. You can see the real-time updates of your candidates, and look at what they find important enough to share, when. If you are hiring for a Wall Street company and your candidate is tweeting about his or her new TV in the middle of a financial crisis… You may want to rethink your options.

You can see how your candidate interacts with others on social media. Does your candidate use smart language, even in a casual setting? Do they sacrifice grammar for any reason? Is your candidate friendly and courteous to all?

Social media can display a candidate’s innovation. A candidate can say he or she is a creative problem-solver in a resume, but his or her social media can provide evidence. Look at whether he or she shares useful articles, has good insight, and demonstrates investigative thinking.

Finally, look at whether your candidate approaches negative feedback on social media with grace or anger. This will likely reflect how they respond to constructive criticism in the workplace.

By analyzing a candidate’s social media behavior, potential employers can see the claims in a resume enforced or refuted by real-life (or, well, digital-life) behavior.

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