How much does a candidate’s social media presence influence you?


When you’re recruiting, how often do you Google a candidate’s name? Pretty often, if the stats are anything to go on (more than a third admit to it, but we bet it’s higher!)

Katherine Wiid of Career Ambitions writes:

But in light of recent Facebook data breaches and the uncertainty around sharing personal data, is it ok for employers to seek out personal information about a candidate, without their express permission? Does that go beyond the scope of a recruiter, or is it fair game if the information is out there already on show? 

A candidate’s social media profile can tell you a lot about them – from where they went to school to what they do over weekends. However, these days a lot of candidates are battening down the hatches and turning on the ‘private mode’. This makes it harder for potential employers to track their candidates down! What assumptions do we jump to based on whether a candidate lets it all hang out, versus someone who keeps their security tight? And how can this affect our judgement as employers? Would we rather have a candidate who is confident in who they are and happy to show it, or someone who keeps personal information out of the spotlight? 

Think back to when your career began and how your life looked then. Did you have social media? Was everything photographed, documented and shared online? Possibly not. Regardless of whether it was all out there in the ether - are you still the same person now? Probably not! 

Is social media such as Facebook really a true reflection of a candidate, or how they’re going to behave when they are in the workplace? Often, the answer is no. And if you get that information, what will you do with it? Are you going to mention it in interview? The answer is again probably no. You’re more likely to be steered by your unconscious bias and end up writing them off, perhaps unfairly. 

If a candidate has chosen to share their personal data online via social media, then surely a little stalking is fair game. Rather than focusing your time on Facebook, one tool that can be a massive help with recruiting is LinkedIn. Here you can stalk away! LinkedIn is a space for candidates to show off their professional side – their experience, responsibilities, connections, expertise... When hiring, we can use LinkedIn to delve deeper than a CV and to find out what really makes a candidate tick, without the risk of any ethical breaches. All that information provides great springboard topics for interview or further discussion. And also allows you to find out who they are when the interview suit comes off and the sleeves get rolled up – before day one! When it comes to LinkedIn, what you see is likely to be closer to what you get. 

So employers, recruiters, managers… use your stalking time wisely and spend it on LinkedIn.  Time is precious. Use yours where it counts!




Based in Cambridge, Career Ambitions has a strong reputation for enabling highly-trained and talented individuals to get through major career change, redundancy and/or indecision to realise their career potential and meet their ambitions.

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