Screening via social media? These are the 5 pitfalls to avoid!

Screening via social media? These are the 5 pitfalls to avoid!

Social media: everyone connects to it and publishes their life on it. The digital profiles are often so personal that recruiters and HR specialists are increasingly inclined to recruit via social media. The top 3? LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook🏅 Here is your guide to screening via social media.

Social media + and -

You can use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to recruit fresh new talent, as well as showing off your organisation. Social media gives you a free stage to promote the benefits you offer as an employer. You even get to e-meet the people behind the cv’s and cover letters. 👋

And yes, the up close and personal aspect comes with its embarrassing moments too. You may come across a tagged photograph of one of your candidates, in which they’ve had a few too many drinks… As a good recruiter, it’s your job to stay objective. You wouldn’t just hire anyone because of a great cover letter either, would you? Which is why screening via social media is key.

The advantages of recruiting via social media are endless. It’s entirely free, unmatched in speed, and it comes with an extensive reach. Are you looking for a multilingual candidate? Or do you need someone with brilliant communication skills? Social media platforms allow you to search and filter using these terms. You can track people who have the relevant skills and are passively looking for a new job. 🎯

1. Not having a strategy

First of all, think before you speak! 🤔 You won’t be able to see the trees for the forest without a solid strategy. There are plenty of other companies and organisations that recruit via social media as well, so your candidate may not even notice your ads. Make sure you stay relevant to your objectives at all times.

Recruiting via social media = planning

You need a solid and well-organised social media plan 💪, but too many strategies may risk you losing sight of your goals. What good is a Twitter account or a Facebook page that doesn’t do or post anything? If you don’t invest enough time in your page, you’ll quickly lose your followers’ interest. 

Chess being played.

Define your target audience

Choose the appropriate platform for your organisation beforehand. Just like regular advertising, it’s never a good idea to target everyone out there. Your chances of success increase when you pick a specific niche. Some simple stats and figures can help you here. Where does your niche market spend its time? When do these people use their profile? In which age group are these candidates? And most importantly: who is your competition? ⚔️


The majority of the online community isn’t actively looking for a new job opportunity. To extend your reach, include the search for passive candidates with potential in your social media strategy. 🔍 It will be very tempting to chase quick connections and grow a network in no time… 

Two men catching an imaginary fish.

But did you know that patience pays off? You will benefit much more from long-term relationships, and these need a base of trust. And no, you won’t have to blindfold yourself and drop into a stranger’s arms. But you will have to keep a record. Keep track of the best potential employees, and note when best to start fishing for them.  🎣


On the world wide web, you can be in one day and out the next. Are you not that interesting at first glance? It won’t take the media savvy crowd long to forget you. Try to attract talent by creating a captivating image of your organisation. Be interesting, exciting, and informative. You don’t want to risk your future employees scrolling past you, right? Your candidates should be intrigued to spend their time discovering your brand!

2. Judging too quickly

Don’t be too quick to judge… If you judge too quickly – upon seeing a post that makes you spit out your coffee – you will undoubtedly miss out on perfectly competent candidates. A social media profile is not a cv! This is a crucial point to keep in mind while screening via social media!

A woman giving a judgy look.

And that especially applies to millennials who have grown up with social media. They tend not to care that their social life is on display to the rest of the world, and they’ll share their private lives with much more ease than other professionals. Besides, levels of appropriateness differ per platform. 🐚 Beach pictures on Facebook are perfectly fine, but on LinkedIn? Not a chance! 

The opposite is just as easy to find! Some people don’t update their social media much. Don’t ignore these people based on their profile completeness or lack of recent updates. They could also passively be looking for a new job opportunity. 💡

3. Replacing all personal contact with social media

A monkey typing really fast.

Third, one of the most serious pitfalls. Social media should never replace personal contact completely. 🤝 If anything, it should support and promote it. Your employee will need to have social skillsCommunication within an organisation remains vital, even in the digital age we live in. You can’t determine whether a candidate matches your company culture by solely looking at their Facebook or LinkedIn. 

4. Forgetting that social media is personal

Number four! Your organisation may be wary of recruiting via social media because you don’t want to come across as too informal, or you’re focusing on developing a professional reputation. One way or the other, you’ll have to prepare for informal responses

Girl cursing.

Expect and be ready for frustrated ex-employees, unsuccessful applicants, or unsatisfied customers to get involved. Unfortunately, they can easily use your presence on the internet against you. Bad news spreads like wildfire, especially when you’re online. Prepare for these worst-case scenarios! 🛡️ How would you handle and resolve negative responses quickly before they go viral?

5. Not respecting people’s privacy

Last, the importance of fairness (Just because you're screening via social media doesn't mean you should forget about it!). Okay, a Facebook profile may be a public domain, but how fair is it to judge someone on some 5-year old Tweets? 

Girl asking for privacy.

Respect the privacy of potential candidates. And respect boundaries! By violating the privacy of others, you risk violating your own reputation and scaring off your candidates along the way!