Despite the proliferation of social media profiles, cos still employ time-tested methods to gauge the employability of a candidate.
As organisations redouble their efforts to scour the right talent, knowing where to find it is now the most important part of the job. According to a survey conducted by HR.com, nearly 93% of organisations report that they conduct some background screening if they are to understand the person behind the work portfolio.
HR professionals need to use platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, says Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder, Wakefit.co. “These profiles can help HR professionals gauge how well-informed, opinionated and articulate potential applicants are,” he says. Online professional profiles ultimately aim to help the employer see whether a new candidate is a good fit for the role, team or organisation, adds Urban Company’s Sana Nayyar. “It helps discover who they are, the work they have done,” she says.
Relevant to the role
So, how crucial is it to have a solid professional presence online? It depends on the role. “If I’m hiring a social media person or a brand manager, it’s helpful to know if they are micro-influencers. Do they intrinsically understand what’s trending or how to promote something?” says Aditi Pareek, head – human resources at Pepperfry.
“For creative positions such as interior designers, merchandising managers, photographers, how they curate their Facebook and Instagram profiles helps to understand their creativity, originality and mind-set,” she explains.
However, a presence online isn’t a deal breaker for employers. Harshvendra Soin, chief people officer, Tech Mahindra, says that while “public profiles on professional platforms do offer unique insights”, screening publicly available information remains a small part of their hiring process.
It’s a sentiment echoed by the larger industry.
“Middle to senior-level talent selection process of organisations tends to start by referring to an individual’s social media profile. However, it’s just to gauge the seniority and one’s longevity in their previous commitments,” says Ishita Bandyopadhay, managing director, Aon’s Assessment Solutions, South East Asia and India.
Navnit Singh, Chairman and MD-India, Korn Ferry, says at the executive level there are a few companies who, via third party vendors, do a deep dive on social media to figure out the credibility of an individual. “But it’s not a prevalent practice at all levels,” he says.
Companies are also aware that what they see online may not always be what they get. One survey found that 34% of LinkedIn profiles contain inaccurate or misleading information. “An applicant can look attractive on their media accounts but remember that there are enough and more ways of creating ‘profile-facades’ today,” says Bandyopadhay. That is why she believes the weightage social media profiles hold in the final selection should be near zero.
Amit Chincholikar, global CHRO, Tata Consumer Products, says social media profiles are largely a personal prerogative and should “at best be used to validate or negate a hypothesis”.
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