Davies Ndumiso Sibanda, Labour Matters
SELECTION of employees has undergone evolution to an extent that the traditional selection tools are just a few of the many tools used by employers who are searching for new human capital, meaning that job seekers should also be smart in their social media activities and other forums where they can be captured on Internet.
Very often job seekers think their qualifications and experience are the only things employers are looking for without realising that there is much more that employers are looking for.
For example, they also consider applicant’s history, social life behaviour, personality and fitness for the organisation’s culture.
I sat as part of an interview panel and at the end of the oral interview, we started to use other tools and we started by googling each candidate’s name.
One was disqualified because there were articles about him having engaged in football violence. Another was not considered because he had been dismissed for assaulting a fellow employee in one of the places, he had worked in.
He had omitted the organisation in his curriculum vitae and misrepresented his service with other employers.
When we went into face book and twitter, we were able to get a lot of information about personalities, characters and behaviours of the remaining candidates.
We were then able to pick the candidate with the best fit to join the organisation.
Social media helps to track the growth of the candidate if the candidate has been on social media for long.
It can help tell whether the individual has matured and ready for the job and environment you want him or her to work in.
Admittedly, caution has to be taken as some profiles on social media can be misleading.
There are, however, things like lying about qualifications, for example on face book there are many who claim to have been to universities like National University of Science and Technology (Nust) or University of South Africa (Unisa), yet they were never there and have no qualifications from these institutions.
Such untrue information projects one as a dreamer and a liar.
I recall one candidate on her profile said she was from Oxford, lives in Los Angeles and did her high school at Tsholotsho High School and worked in Pretoria.
It does not require a rocket scientist to tell something was wrong as the information did not talk to her curriculum vitae.
She was young and a dreamer.
We had a long debate on whether she should be employed as she had done very well at the interview.
She was offered the job as most panellists believed she was a youngster who dreams and could be moulded into a responsible person. However, not all dreamers and liars can be that lucky.
Social media posts and comments can tell a lot about one’s life experiences and exposure to the world.
I recall one candidate for a senior position who had no email address, no WhatsApp and there was nothing about him on Internet.
He had no IT skills but relied entirely on his secretary.
Despite his vast experience in marketing management, he didn’t get the job as it was felt he was “a dinosaur”, unable to respond to change.
Today’s interviews are online and ability to use tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams are now part of the selection process.
Many employers will drop candidates who cannot take interviews online as they feel they are not ready for today’s working world.
I have had cases where we expose candidate’s current interview methods, with some making it but others fail to understand and use the tools. It’s advisable for job seekers to be familiar with possible online interview tools.
In conclusion, social media and technology play a bigger role in recruitment and selection, thus people should think through what they do in social media platforms and be able to manipulate basic work-related technology.