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Check out our weekly blog posts and see the latest news and discussions happening in the HR world of business.

Do You Know Your Prospective Employees’ Social Score?

Companies are reviewing their prospective hires’ social media presence more than ever before bringing them on board. Social media activity can give business owners and those involved in the hiring process big clues as to who the person is they are looking at. But now, companies are turning to actual social scores to determine the eligibility of job candidates – and even using it to reverse mine for folks who they perhaps wouldn’t normally have considered.

It’s called social scoring. A score is calculated through the measure of people and their level of social influence. Influence is determined through social media activities such as posts, likes, readership and shares.

According to experts, social media scores were first used by financial lenders as a means to determine just how risky loaning money might be. The idea behind mining this data is they could see your interactions and calculate your likelihood of paying your loans back based on the lifestyle you lead and your online interactions. At the time, experts suggested that by giving companies yet another tool beyond the traditional credit score to evaluate risk, companies could back those folks who were most conscientious and trustworthy, which in turn potentially help lower interest rates.

Employers, meanwhile, can also harness this data. After all, who wouldn’t want a candidate that shares those same qualities that a financial lender looks for? So, how exactly do you get this score? In general, the score is based on your activity on various online platforms, the type of posts you make, your readership (aka the number of people following you), the types of posts you like, who you follow, and what you share. But how do you get an actual number?

For the most part, you’ll need to engage the services of an outside platform, such as LinkedIn Social Selling Index, or turning to scoring companies such as Sociota, Kred and Reppify. In going through a third-party, this also prevents you as a business owner from seeing information on candidates, such as their age, gender, race, and religion that could land you in some legal hot water should questions over your hiring practices arise.

Klout was once the leader in this niche industry but shuttered its operations in May 2018 due in part to new federal rules governing how companies can collect data and how they can use it.

While companies such as Klout used to use measures to create a single score that was based more broadly on an individuals’ “sphere of influence” on social media platforms, most of the current services take a more tailored approach to getting you a score. In this fashion, finding the right candidate isn’t really a one-size-fits-all approach in which there isn’t just one “score” that we could tell you to watch for. Under the newer models, hiring managers are able to set the parameters for their hires based on what is of most importance to their company or to the position in question. It will then rank candidates that “hit” the highest on these measures so that you can compare them across the board and help narrow your hiring decision for this one position.

With this in mind, you’ll need to have made some pretty big decisions about what social media traits are most important for the candidates that you expect to hire and determine how important you believe each one will be to said prospective employees’ potential success at your company.

It doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone, however. Outsourcing some human resource responsibility to an outside vendor such as Abel HR, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), is one way to help you or your HR department to help you make good hiring decisions. A PEO can help you craft the types of job descriptions that can snag the most qualified candidates and place the descriptions in the most high-profile places to attract talent. The outside human resource experts can even take care of the preliminary candidate review by performing resume reviews and phone screen interviews so that you only have to meet with the best-of-the-best.

In short, social media scores are yet another potential instrument in the hiring managers toolbox – but it certainly isn’t going to be a good fit for every company, every job posting, or even every job candidate.

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