Personal Contacts Work Better for Recruiters than the Internet

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The FINANCIAL — The internet is not the main tool for searching for information about candidates, was the conclusion of some Tbilisi-based HR experts.


So-called ‘private contacts’ or people recommended by friends or partners have a better chance of getting a jobseeker employed than others. Facebook statuses can sometimes determine a candidate’s chances of getting hired, but not always. At least one HR professional told The FINANCIAL that negative online statuses posted by a candidate about the company will not influence his/her chances of getting employed.

“HR managers most often use social networks to find out who the candidate’s acquaintances are. We find out which mutual friends we have and get additional info directly from our partners. For example if their prior employer is your friend you might prefer to call them directly and ask about your candidate,” Aleksandre Shelia, Human Resources Manager at Free University of Tbilisi, told The FINANCIAL.

“HR managers in Georgia rarely use the internet to check information about candidates. Most frequently we use acquaintances, recommendations from previous employees and corresponding organizations: banks, police, and the civil registry. Jobseekers are registering on different career websites. They upload their resumes. But employees rarely use such internet sources. We stay more in touch with recruitment companies,” said Lela Liparteliani, HRM in Integrated Business Solutions, IBS. 

Others are more devoted to internet research. More than 200 HR managers were registered on website as recruiters. Most of them have been active over the last two years.

Alison Doyle, who has been a job search guide for since 1998 says posting company business (good or bad), posting that you hate your employer, posting inappropriate information on Facebook, tweeting that you have a job offer while still employed, are just a few examples of what can get you in trouble, or even cost you your job, especially when you do it from work.

Liparteliani, IBS, said that a candidate’s ‘likes’ on Facebook are not important to her. She does not have experience of working in the governmental sector but thinks that HR managers at governmental organizations might be paying attention to the online activities of their staff.

Giorgi Chkheidze, HRM at the Revenue Service, stated that he is also mostly relying on recommendations. “I do not use social networks to check on the personal information of the candidates,” he told us.  

As well as professional experience, HR managers are searching for further information: recommendation about personal and professional abilities from prior employees; information about a candidate’s family members and friends; notification about military service; bank history – punctuality of paying credit cards.

“In general, if HR managers would make conclusions regarding one’s Facebook’s likes, that would not be correct. There are so many links to like, if employers checked all of them, the majority of employees would be left without work. Actually, it depends on the position which we plan to hire our worker to,” Liparteliani said.

She noted that in general, users of social networks abstain from publishing private information regarding political and religious issues.

“Nowadays different political and/or religious beliefs can become a reason not to employ a person. Hiding information at some stage might not hamper a person getting employed, but after some time it will come to the surface. And when it does that will only present more serious problems for the employee, which will in turn cause him more problems when trying to find another job,” Liparteliani said. 

She does not think that HR managers should rely heavily on search engines to check information about candidates. “Google does not provide enough information about people in general,” she said.   
Contrary to Liparteliani, Shelia, FreeUni, said he regularly searches for background information about professors with whom his university might be cooperating. Such info is mostly found on educational websites.

“We do not pay huge attention to private information. The political beliefs of our workers do not matter for us. I do not think that candidates should abstain from expressing and sharing their viewpoints regarding politics or religion. Sooner or later such opinions will be uncovered. Another issue is that if some employees are the faces of a company it would not be ethical for them to say bad things about the company. If you are successfully handling your work then it may not be important for your employer what you post on a social network even about the very company you work for,” Shelia said.

Shelia warned however that if a person is a marketing manager at Head and Shoulders and posts that Panten is cool, then doubtless they will be fired.

“Depending on the position, search engines are helpful for HR managers alongside a candidate’s CV and application forms. LinkedIn is not well adapted and actively used by Georgian users so we do not use it that frequently. Private contacts are the priority port of call for me when checking on a candidate’s credentials,” Shelia said.



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