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Is your team using social media responsibly?

This week, the dangers of social media made the headlines once more as youth crime commissioner, Paris Brown, stood down after offensive tweets were brought to light.

Ann Barnes, the police and crime commissioner for Kent, admitted that the hiring process had followed normal police procedures, but this didn’t involve looking at online networks for this type of position. This will now become a priority when it comes to searching for another candidate, which is something that all employers should take note of.

Vetting social networks as part of the recruitment process isn’t only important to avoid any embarrassment as in this instance, but it can be of real value in helping you recruit the right talent. When it comes to hiring, an applicant’s online presence can reveal a lot about their suitability for the position and your organisation as a whole. LinkedIn, for instance, can provide a fantastic overview of their skills and experiences, giving you the opportunity to read any recommendations they may have and view their connections. Twitter can be useful to show how they engage – either positively or negatively – with a wider audience, and Facebook may reveal whether they have a personality that fits in with your culture – or one that doesn’t!

The monitoring of these platforms shouldn’t stop after a candidate has joined your team though. Employers also have a responsibility to continuously remind their staff that, yes, social media channels are a platform to express personal opinion, but at the same time, it’s important to be professional. We’ve seen examples of footballers being fined for posting offensive tweets, and your team needs to be aware that there could also be implications for them if anything is posted that could damage the company’s reputation.

Social networks can be invaluable when it comes to building a brand or engaging with potential clients and candidates. But you have a responsibility in ensuring that it’s used in the right way to avoid any damage to your business.

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