One in four organizations screens applicant’s social media

A significant portion of organizations appear to look for discrimination-sensitive personal characteristics in the resume during the recruitment and selection process. In addition, over 25% of the organizations check social media profiles of candidates. This is according to research by Tilburg University and publisher Rendement Uitgeverij into recruitment and selection practices in the Netherlands. When the Equal Opportunities in Recruitment and Selection Act comes into effect, many organizations will have to review their recruitment policies.

When asked what information organizations use from an applicant’s resume, 34% say they assess age, 15% assesses the photograph and 12% assesses gender. Furthermore, more than a quarter of organizations screen job applicants’ social media. 4% of organizations always do this, 16% regularly and 5% rarely. In doing so, organizations should pay close attention to privacy rules, because it is not allowed to use job applicants’ profiles on social media just like that.

Checking behavior and opinions on social media

Of the organizations that check candidates’ social media, 56% say they do so to see if the information matches the applicant’s resume. But the purpose of the check is often also to investigate (non-professional) behavior (62%) or personal views (46%) of the candidate. Social media checks are almost always conducted on LinkedIn (96%), but Facebook (71%) and Instagram (41%) are also very popular. X - the former Twitter - is checked significantly less (17%).

The impending legislation seems to be motivating companies to refine their hiring processes. And it’s timely, given that our findings indicate a lack of standardized practices that can ensure equal chances for all applicants - Lead researcher Djurre Holtrop, Tilburg University

Job interview, resume and cover letter popular

The study further shows that the job interview, the resume and the cover letter are by far the most used methods in the selection of new personnel. When evaluating a resume, organizations pay particular attention to "hard" criteria. For example, 97% of the organizations in the survey assess the applicant’s work experience, followed by educational level or qualifications (90%). For the cover letter, the focus is more on ’soft’ criteria such as motivation (91%), use of language (84%) and match with the organization (64%). Relatively few organizations use science-based assessment methods, such as psychological tests, video interviews or structured interviews.