For years employers have been screening candidates based on content on social networking websites. Candidates using poor judgment online may be screened out of the process. Now employers and recruiters are turning to social media to aid in the selection of knowledgeable and well-connected employees.
Klout measures an individual’s influence across social media entities, such as Twitter. Data under consideration are network size, amount of content generated, and volume of interaction. That data is processed to produce a Klout score ranging from 1 to 100. The higher the score, presumably the higher the individual’s social media influence. Klout scores are categorized into measures, including “True Reach” (size of engaged audience), “Amplification Probability” (rate of action taken on message, such as retweets), and “Network Score” (value of a person’s engaged audience).
Consideration of a candidate’s Klout score is the latest trend in recruitment. As social media proficiency and influence are becoming more valuable in many occupations, the Klout score is becoming a valued source of knowledge contributing to a hiring decision. It may not be a primary determining factor, but it could help tip the scale in a candidate’s favor. All things equal, a candidate with a high Klout score may win the day.
However, sometimes a new trend can lead a manager to make a costly hiring mistake. Some managers are eager to hop onto the next great idea, even when it’s not the appropriate method for all job vacancies. In other cases, a hiring manager may place more importance on a Klout score than appropriate. It’s the job of a seasoned recruiter to put the Klout score and other candidate data into perspective to facilitate the decision making process.
For example, is a low Klout score a sign that a candidate is less valuable? Does it weaken a candidate’s brand? Not necessarily. For every individual actively building a social media empire, there are hundreds of candidates reviewing, analyzing, and utilizing the data found on social media sites.
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Obviously, in some positions, social media interaction is critical; in others not so much. A community manager with a low Klout score may want to spend some time on his personal brand to build his clout in his area of expertise to increase the Klout score. A database administrator with a high Klout True Reach score may be very impressive if she is using her time blogging about her field. However, if she is known in social media as the ultimate authority on the Battlestar Gallactica, it is very impressive but may not give her the edge when interviewing. There are many instances when a Klout score is not relevant due to the occupation or industry.
There are legal aspects of using social media to make a hiring decision. As a recruiting professional, it is important to stay abreast of changes in this area of employment law. One reason it may be a risky addition to a formal hiring plan is that social media provides a glimpse into a candidate’s religion, sexual orientation, marital status, gender, and age. Because those items are protected by anti-discrimination laws, an employer is forbidden from using that data as a hiring factor. The line could be blurred unless filtering safeguards are implemented so hiring managers do not receive those details. Additionally, this is an opportunity for training of both human resource managers as well as hiring managers.
The bottom line is that this is an area to watch. As a professional recruiter, you can increase your clout with your clients by remaining knowledgeable in this evolving space in the world of employee selection.