Saturday, September 20, 2014

Latest trend in the job recruitments in Sri Lanka - analyse candidates using social media

Last week I met a long lost friend of mine. Currently he is working at the Human Resources department of one of the biggest business groups in Sri Lanka. So what are you up to now? I asked. He is a social media analytic. He apparently handles social media research and analysis of the candidates and potential candidates. What the hell is that now? Well its the next level of human resource management.

No need to say, even I got bit shaken given that I too are a regular user of social media in public capacity. Though my writings or comments make sense for me, corporate aspect and personal interpretations could be insane some times.  Without my knowledge they track my social media behaviour? Well, most likely it is , he burst out laughing. Jokes aside, I can tell you more about some people than you gossip girls ever know, he assured. Now that's worth enough information for an article. I managed to get him agreed to publish some of the details.



How to use social media to analyse job applicants?

I knew he wasn't lying when I google a bit later on the day. There are many countries already practicing it.  It is said that more than 30% of the companies use social media to check back ground of job applicants.

What are social media analytics tools?

Q - In Sri Lankan terms, are you all using analytical tools or do it manually?
A - We already use free tools such as Google Analytics for product and customer related searches. Other than that we try to develop another tool with few more features we need for recruiting. If our budget allows, we may be able to buy an actual tool big companies in the world  use. There are already tools made to support languages other than English. We need a tool customised to analyse Sinhala medium comments and articles as well.
We are trying to come up with one social media tool that can be used for recruitments as well as marketing. Then our costs can be covered in financial terms too.
For the time we mainly do it manually. We have a large amount of data bank. Its not a very difficult task to sit in front of a computer all day and do a bit of copy paste you know. Sri Lankans mainly use Face Book among many social media. Many youngsters who have access to internet have a Face Book account and in some cases one or more fake accounts too. Twitter and other apps are not very popular in areas outside Colombo.


How to do back ground checking of job applicants? using social media

Q - So what sort of things you all check in social media when it comes to recruiting?
A - Well, we mainly check the comments , writings , and general behaviour of our job applicants and some times potential applicants. We also look in to such data of people who may never be in the category of our job applicants.
Q - Why do you want to check in to other people's gossip? Face Book or Twitter is rather personal lives of people isn't it? How do you use it for the benefit of a company?
A -Well Sri Lanka is a small country you know. We try to analyse the social media behaviour of people and try to categorize people in to segments. We have already identified behavioural patterns of the social media users of Sri Lanka.
Say for example when we check some public pages for months we guessed that religious extremists (in any religion) has a tendency that they do not respect women. It was a strange finding, but then when we analysed many profiles, we can say its 90 % true. Same as we managed to identify more similar thinking of that group such as their political views (which doesn't matter us anyway), ability to think logically and practicality issues etc.
Another category we have identified is the school levers from central colleges and similar level schools with developed facilities than small schools. Whether its East or West, job applicants among this group share some key behavioural patters. They do not belong to the "Royal College" social class (in their imagination) or village school social class. They seem to share unique mind set suffering to be stuck among two worlds.
That is just couple of examples. We have come up with many other categories as well.
(picture credit - )

 How to use social media feed back in recruiting ?

 Q - So you are telling me that you categorize them before hand, so that you can exclude these youngsters in recruitment process? How rude and inhuman? May be all they need is a job !
A - Absolutely not. You must agree with me that a business is not all about a social welfare organization. We need to hire good people. People with better attitudes. People who can be a great employee to the organization as well as a great colleague to our fellow employees. You worry about the people I might not have recruited, but did you ever think about the people who should have actually get recruited thanks to this process?
Q - Look, people always don't say truth in social media. I feel for these youngsters who just post things for the sake of it or just because their friends do so. They have no idea that corporate world is watching. They can be very talented , genuine kids who never really being taught how to behave in social media may be?
A - They will learn. When other big companies too start practicing this, they will learn. They will learn to behave like responsible citizens. They will really do something useful in their free time rather than sitting in front a computer and posting nonsense or attacking company web sites or insulting women, you know.
If we ever had to recruit a person with black listed behaviour due to his skills, then we exactly know what sort of trainings we should send him through. For example we aim to send them to soft skills trainings as well as we plan to employ them more towards our social responsibility work. That will in one hand make a peaceful person and since they have a work load to do, they might not have much time to hate talk.
( picture credit - from the "file photos")
Q - This will only increase more fake accounts. I heard government too is already doing it to track down opposition supporters in government offices. Your new efforts will only make more and more divided society and poor people will hate rich people even more.
A - Who told you we don't recruit poor people and we only care for rich people? I can show you couple of public FB profile owners who are quite rich when it comes to material properties , but so low and poor in attitude. They even work in big companies (both government and private) and have quite a bad impact on people around them and who might take them as role models.
There are poor, yet quite classy with attitude people as well. May be they were bought up so open minded or life gave them more chances to be happy and content and not to hate people and let down everything comes on their way. We've noted quite many people like that in the sector and company, yet doing junior roles but we'll make sure they have a promising role ahead of life.
Behaviour and attitude has nothing much to do with money. Its all about personality. In this way, even a very poor student can come up and get a job given that he proves him enough to be a good employee.
(picture credit - )

How to avoid discrimination or personal favours in social media screening?

We have a uniform analysis platform , charts , key features checked across etc. Information to the next level goes mostly as analysed data. So two applicants can be compared on a similar basis. Well I don't totally refuse the fact there could be human errors and naturally bounding to our feelings. Yet we try as a team to minimize discrimination.
On the other hand, final decision to recruit is NOT taken by the social media analysis team.

Usage of LinkedIn profiles in recruitment in Sri Lanka?

Q - How do you use LinkedIn profiles in recruiting? Or you don't use it?
A - We still discussing on advertising our vacancies in LinkedIn. We know not many people use it yet. But we are planning to use it for recruiting , screening and back ground checks at least for the higher roles.
We understand there are risks of solely based on LinkedIn to recruit. But we can certainly get a direction / guidance on what to screen on people. Specially if you take recommendations part of it, people always may try to highlight what ever a good in a person than elaborating something which don't exist at all. So it is useful. So I would like to highlight that having a LinkedIn account is a definite plus in next years to come in recruiting.  

Analysing social media behaviour of existing employees as well?

Q - Out of curiosity I'm asking, are you all checking social media behaviour of existing employees as well? I mean its not necessary right? You already know them?
A - Well we do. Not that we check everyone. But if  it clicked to us that someone might be up to something or if we get a complain, then we monitor them close.
Q - Do you fire people solely based on social media behaviour?
A-Not yet. But management is discussing about it. We never come across any situation where we have to think about it.
But big companies have done it many times you know. Quite recently Rap Genius CEO was fired after his FB comments on a shooter. If you googled a bit you can find our whole loads of people who get fired with social media watch after they were discovered with violation of company regulation, making sexist comments in official meetings, snarky blogs, food workers posting pictures of licking food , insensitive comments etc etc.
May be you know that a big group in a Scandinavian country fired an employee due to the fact he actively promoted terrorism and violence in his open Face Book page supporting ISIS.

What are the advantages of using social media checks in recruiting and HR management?

Q - Well I'm still not convinced whether it can give a big advantage in a country like ours. What are the commercial benefits you see in this trend?
A - Well there are many. I can list you few, may be not in a particular order.
 1. Advertising jobs in social media is free.
 2. It helps to identify potential candidates.
 3. It helps to identify people who fit in to the company culture. So no need to take away with lies in a job interview as we already know about them.
 4. It raises awareness about the company.
 5. When recommendations are on public view, people tend to write close to reality referrals.
 6. When candidates can view the LinkedIn profiles of other candidates, they realise that there are people with more talents, qualifications and experience exist and therefore they also need to work up to be competent. Then they know hard work is required than just blaming their employment upon social class or political inability to create jobs for them.
 7. Benchmarking and learning process - time saved in the process.
 8. Identifying employees wasting their working hours in social networks
Guess you are convinced than before, miss :)

Is it legal to obtain social media information for corporate use?

Well we obtain  only the publicly available information. We never share these information with outsiders. I'm not a lawyer, but I have never heard of any law in Sri Lanka which prevents obtaining social media information.


Anonymous said...

I think some companies check Face Book before they select people. It happens to one of my friends who is an operator of a famous Face Book page. He has mentioned that in interview to answer some question. They have checked the site. It had only one shared picture laughing at aunties wearing denim trousers. The man who has interviewed him has told "sorry, most ladies in our company wear trousers and rest of the others wear not so long skirts. So you don't fit here". People who go to interviews should not say their Face Book stuff with them.

Anonymous said...

How do they find information from private Face book accounts? FB don't allow it rit?

Francis Smith said...

It goes without saying that the photos of a home are one of the most important aspects of marketing. Photography is in fact one of the most important marketing tips for selling a home.