3 Things to Look for When Checking Candidates’ Social Media

Think social media is reserved for posting selfies and sharing pictures of last night’s dinner? Think again. With more than 3.8 billion active users, social media has become a treasure trove for hiring managers looking to learn a little bit more about a candidate. In fact, at last check, a whopping 70% of employers use social media to screen job applicants. 

If you’re in the process of trying to fill an open position within your veterinary clinic, social media can be a tremendous resource for vetting candidates and discovering who they are, beyond what they’ve written in their resume and cover letter. Best of all, it’s entirely free to use. That being said, it can be easy to slip down a rabbit hole and get lost in all the noise of the internet. This is neither a good use of your precious time, nor an effective strategy for accomplishing your goals.

The key is to know what you’re looking for before you start your search. Having a plan in place will help you to quickly sift through all the irrelevant content to discover information that’s useful to your needs. Here are three specific things you should look for on social media that can help you pinpoint the perfect candidate for the job.


When applying for a job and interviewing, candidates always put their best, most professional foot forward. They focus on showcasing their strengths and work hard to minimize any weaknesses they may have. As such, it can be challenging to get a clear and accurate picture of who that person actually is and what they might be like to work with. Understanding this is important, though, because you want to get someone who is a good fit with others on the team and your practice culture.

Social media is a place where people tend to let down their hair and show who they truly are. While LinkedIn may be more business-focused, other platforms, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, can help you get an idea of a candidate’s personality, opinions, likes and dislikes. The way a person conducts themselves in these public forums may provide valuable insight into how they’re likely to behave in the workplace.

Career Outlook

These days, more and more people are leveraging social platforms as a tool to promote and further their professional ambitions. In other words, they are leveraging the internet to establish their own personal brand, if you will. As a prospective employer, there’s a lot you can learn from the online social activities that your candidates engage in. 

For instance, reading articles they’ve written or shared can provide a glimpse into whether or not a candidate’s values are well-aligned with those of your practice. It can also provide a high-level view of their attitude toward work. Are they positive and excited about their job, or do they tend to be negative and complain a lot? These characteristics will likely follow them to your practice as well, so be aware.


The third thing to look for when reviewing a candidate’s social media profiles is whether or not their application, resume and cover letter match up with reality. For instance, for an applicant who specifically references her strong communication skills or large professional network, you should be able to verify the validity of these claims relatively easily by simply checking out her social media presence and online activity.

Social media is also a great tool for locating additional references as well. For example, let’s say that while checking a particular candidate’s LinkedIn profile you notice that you share a mutual connection. Reaching out to that mutual contact to ask their opinion on the applicant in question could provide you with a much more candid and accurate perspective of who they are and what they’re like to work with, as opposed to what you’d get from a reference that was handpicked by the candidate.

When hiring someone to join your practice, the more tools you have to vet candidates in advance, the better. Social media provides a great, free tool for learning more about who a particular person is and whether they’d truly be a good fit for your team. But you have to be strategic about it. Focusing on the three key areas above will enable you to optimize your time so you can more quickly pinpoint the perfect person for the job!