It’s no secret that there’s a host of information available on the internet that can assist hiring managers to discover more about their potential new hires. While not everyone is as happy about it as recruiters & hiring managers, candidates have accepted the reality that their public online information will be accessed at some point during the hiring process.
Searching for information about candidates through online sources has changed the outcome for a significant percentage of hires. Depending on which survey you read, between 48-91% of employers perform a digital search for information about a potential new hire, the vast majority before they even call the applicant.
When you’re ‘stalking’ a candidate online, be sure to stay within the bounds of propriety, and don’t be too quick to judge. Look to their online presence to let you know whether they know how to manage an online brand, or look at whether they’re a culture fit. You can even use your ‘stalking’ to validate their claims.
A friendly warning: Be sure not to use these tools (or any others) to help you discriminate against any candidate illegally on the basis of religion, nationality, sexual orientation, etc. We’re serious about that.
Here are our 9 favourite apps:
The first place to go when looking for information on a person is Google. This may seem straightforward but there’s a host of information missed by employers in Google’s sub sites. Begin by using the candidates’ full name in quotation marks and a location in the standard Google site, and then do the same on:
- Google Blog Search: Pulls up articles and comments on blogs from around the internet
- Google News Search: If the candidate has been mentioned recently in a news article this will show you
- Google Image Search: Pictures may be pulled up from sites that articles don’t discover. Use the pictures to link back to the information.
If you receive a resume through email, you can usually find the person easily on LinkedIn, which is an incredibly detailed source of additional data. Look for recommendations from previous positions and note how they talk about themselves and their previous roles. Don’t forget to note the groups they are a part of or projects they have been involved with.
After LinkedIn, Facebook is the most popular social networking site used by employers to gather data on a person. Even profile pictures will give you a better impression of their personality and activities. Look for Pages that they like and Groups they are a part of, particularly if they have locked down their posts.
Some employers respond negatively to locked-down profiles. Don’t assume that the candidate is trying to hide something nefarious. With the heightened awareness of digital footprints today, many people make the decision to simply lock everything down. This is a sign of prudence, not deceitfulness.
Most Twitter profiles are public and not as closely guarded as Facebook profiles, however, filtering through the information can take a lot longer – specifically if they are an active tweeter. Who are they retweeting and what? Who do they follow? Who follows them? Are they a member of anyone’s lists? Do they build their own list? All of these things can tell you a lot about the candidate.
Pipl claims to access records from the ‘Deep Web’, i.e.: those results that don’t usually show up in a Google search. Pipl aggregates results about a person from all over the web in one easy-to-scroll list. Results include media, background information, social profiles and public records.
Glassdoor is a website providing job role information and feedback. While the initial information provided is anonymous, users can comment about previous workplaces publicly and post questions. Many employers have discovered poor attitudes and public slandering of previous employers through this website.
Often someone will use the same profile picture on every profile they set up across the internet. Use the image URL of a person’s LinkedIn profile, TinEye will find where it has been used elsewhere on the internet. Currently TinEye indexes 3.9 billion images, which is a small portion of the internet, but still a large amount to potentially make a difference.
The really detailed information is behind a pay wall, but it may be worth paying GoodHire to give you an initial background check on someone. GoodHire reports include resume verification, identify, and even criminal records like speeding tickets!
Spokeo aggregates a wide variety of information in an easy to understand online format focusing specifically on social media sites. It scans 60+ social media sites for images, photos and updates. It is possible to pay to unlock specific information (rather than an entire report like BeenVerified) and even see neighbourhood profiles of the area they live in.
All this information is to be used to assist you to gain a better understanding of the person you are hiring and make a better fit for yourself and them. Use the information you discover prudently and make a great hire.