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The truth about ineffective interview questions. 1

How to review job candidates on social media

Reviewing a candidate’s social media for red flags is time-consuming, and looking for specific red flags can be like uncovering the secret to a magic trick.  The skilled team at TalentSource has mastered social media sweeps as part of our qualification process, removing that burden from your to-do list. 

For most job candidates, we review LinkedIn and Facebook as they are the most relevant for most positions.  In some situations, we also include Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and WhatsApp.  In addition to general personality, we also look for:

  • illegal activity or practices
  • offensive comments
  • violent or aggressive behavior
  • sexually explicit material
  • confidential information


Ideally, as part of the interview process, social media screening happens on 2 levels.  Initially, we look through a candidate’s social media to get to know who they are.  When they are in the interview process, a deeper dive is taken. This typically will happen along with reference and background checks. As suggested by SHRM, we use a standard set of questions when screening social media that assures our recruiters stay on track and that the candidates are screened fairly and without discrimination.  

TalentSource recruiters take great care insure you get the best quality candidates for your open jobs; however, it is a good idea for you to do a general social media screen for the potential members of your team. It is good etiquette to decide with your hiring team if the position’s social media presence is a factor and relevant. If social media is a determining factor, be transparent about this with everyone you interview.  Here is what we suggest:

  • GOOGLE SEARCH – Do a basic Google search of the candidate’s name and city of residence. In the search bar, place the candidate’s name between, and add a plus sign with the city name. Your search will look like this, “John Doe” + Mishawaka. This can show you social media links, any mentions in corporate newsletters, professional articles authored, photos (through the image tab), and much more.  Other search tips (called Boolen Operator), can be found in this article from SHRM:
  • NOTE WHAT YOU DON’T SEE – Look for what isn’t there as much as what is there. If you see no social media presence in your search, consider the position you are hiring for. In some careers this isn’t a concern, however, most positions do need to have a keen knowledge of the digital social world and use online tools for work purposes.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA & CORPORATE CULTURE – A candidate’s social media can help you determine if they appear to fit in with your corporate culture. Platforms like Facebook can show you someone’s personality as much as it can show you their quality of communication. If the post has a strong opinion, and some of the comments disagree, look at how differing opinions are handled. Look for use of slang, hashtags, and grammar as well.
  • CONNECTIONS & NETWORK – Look at a candidate’s social connections. For positions that require a strong network, this is a great way to see that network.


This is one way we are a valuable resource for our clients in the smart recruiting process.