Do Leaders Deserve to Know Who They Are Hiring?

…or should they voluntarily make hiring decisions based on limited information?

Here’s a sampling of feedback I got since publishing my “Using Twitter to Screen Job Candidates” post yesterday:

  • “Eeeeh bad idea. I am not my social media account. My talents aren’t the same as my tweets.”
  • “The rules of the world we live in should be broken. Next, HR will be monitoring our grocery list…”
  • “Sure, life needs to balanced but that’s not the same as companies making a decision based on something found on twitter.”
  • “It’s intrusive. Online data, like a resume, doesn’t always paint an accurate picture.”
  • “Nope! Let people have a life & interview them.”
  • “Aaron is an idiot!”


For better or worse, we live in a very different world compared to 5 years ago when jobs were plentiful, Facebook was for college, and Twitter wasn’t even around.

For some folks, they long for the days when they could go to work at their secure 9 to 5 job and then go home and say racist, sexist, stupid, or offensive things online. Others are not confident with their online personalities. Still others are hoping to get a position they aren’t truly qualified for.

Times have changed.

In an increasingly connected world, smart business leaders, sales reps, recruiters and other relationship driven positions will connect with clients and partner groups through social networking. We live in a transparent world now and if you do anything personal on behalf of a brand or company, your actions on public social media sites may harm your team.

So why shouldn’t I and other business leaders use Twitter to screen candidates that will be using Twitter to develop new business?  Candidates can learn about a modern company prior to making a career decision, why can’t companies learn about their candidates too?  Isn’t that how the best relationships form?  Mutual interest?

It’s just too risky to hire the wrong person.  It’s time that transparency goes both ways.

Please share your rational thoughts on this.

Have a great night,


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Published by Aaron Biebert

I'm a director, film/video exec producer, leader & 8pm Warrior. I am passionately chasing my goals at all times. I'm listening. Let's talk!

8 comments on “Do Leaders Deserve to Know Who They Are Hiring?”

  1. Online you’re going to forfeit body language and intonation and to a degree what spontaneity in their answers a candidate has. You could do the SMS interview, but there would be costs.

  2. A job applicant’s online presence should be a factor in hiring, but not an overriding factor.

    I believe, however (not saying that this is a science-based belief) that the more scrutinized people feel, the more they will guard their thoughts and actions. As online profiles do not paint an accurate picture, companies don’t really ever know who they’re hiring. People reveal a lot more about themselves in the workplace than they do online.

    What of the people who’d rather not have a significant online presence? Can you hold that against them? Not everyone has a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Is this a sin in our day and age?

    Now, say I have a pool and I need a pool cleaner. Do I want the pool cleaner to clean my pool or tweet all day while he/she pretends to work?
    Were I an HR manager at a hospital, would I want to employ a new doctor who posts status updates to Fbook and Twitter sixty times a day?

    Knowing that companies are paying more and more attention to your ‘digital footprint’ will simply make people warier.

    Privacy – which I definitely believe in – cannot, should not be overruled in favor of transparency. So long as we’re not talking about actual crimes, what a person establishes for personal ends should stay personal and protected from snoops, unless it is meant to be public.

  3. Like it or not, anything you post online MUST be considered public and you must be prepared for anyone interested in you to use that information to your benefit or detriment. I, too, strongly believe in the individual’s right to privacy and value my own. I stayed off most social media channels for a long time because of this. However, I came to realize the benefits and set ground rules for myself and understand anything I say or do will have positive or negative consequences. To that end, I tend to treat social media more as a professional tool rather than telling the world every detail of my personal life.

  4. If a potential employer is able to identify public comments made by the applicant, so can anyone else. Any company that cares about its public image will care about its employees’ public statements.

    If you aren’t willing to stand behind your statements and opinions, don’t make them public. If you are willing to stand behind them, you will want to work for an employer that is okay with them.

    The Bill of Rights guarantees your right to stand up for what you believe in without retaliation from the government. It does not guarantee that others will not hold you accountable for what you say.

  5. I doubt that medium and large organizations will make significant investment into HR’s capacity to properly evaluate the online presence of candidates for the rank and file. Attempts may be made for PR and brand purposes, but they will be flawed and superficial.

    Executive recruiters, small businesses, and start ups stand the most to gain. Especially for those interested in building a social organization. You can’t really have a social organization if you don’t have curators, influencers, triberrati, taste-makers, and thought leaders in the mix.

    Aaron, if you want to experiment and explore the possibilities, you go ahead and do it. Test your ideas. Learn. And, hopefully, something awesome will come out of it. Because that’s how you (or anyone of us) makes the awesome sauce.

  6. I got a kick out of some of the comments in the post.
    It seems like people not only do not want to take responsibility for their actions, but that they feel that even when they say something in a public place nobody should hold that against them. That even when it was public and there is a record they should not be held accountable for what they say.
    “I am not my social media account.” You created it. It was your work. If your not responsible for it who is? You made it public.
    There is a difference between what you do in private and in public. Certainly, no company has the right to go into private accounts. You have the expectation of privacy (well maybe not with Facebook). Although, if you have any character that is worth hiring, what you say in private is very similar to what you say in public.
    Man up or learn to shut up.

  7. Aaron.
    First- who called you an idiot?! (cyber-smack!)

    Now. What an interesting concept. Our business wouldn’t be able to utilize this idea, because of what we are and do, but it is an outstanding idea.

    Dino Dogan mentioned something in a post that has stuck with me since I read it. (I had just added the “atta-boys” and praise said and sent to us from clients to our website at this point.) He had mentioned in his post, that if he saw testimonials on a site- he should be able to follow their cyber-foot-prints, so to speak. Most of the ones that I had on our site- were just what he cautioned against- just first names. I ended up taking them back off, because we have a reference list and I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t find them on line! A couple had facebook profiles, none had twitter, none had personal websites. I felt Dino had a point in that if they couldn’t be accessed that way- don’t have them there.

    What you are suggesting (for the businesses that can) is another way to see a little more of how an individual conducts themselves and I really like it. First impressions are so important, and we all know that, but how do you act day to day? What gets your goat? What sets you off? How is your sense of humor? Do you follow up, do you care? I can see in what I’ve read and learned that it (all those answers) is right there for the world to see it- whether you like it or not.

    Dead-eye, dead-on. “It’s just too risky to hire the wrong person.” In our business, Guides have the power to make or destroy an Outfitter. Fact. I like this idea. Now, come up with on for me too! ~Amber-Lee

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