An inside look at the tool employers will soon use to check your social media profile

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The Social Index is a new tool, developed in Australia, to give more structure in the process of checking someone’s social media profile when they apply for a job.

The index uses a proprietary algorithm to aggregate insights, with a candidate’s permission, from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

It goes beyond the usual ad hoc string of web searches and helps provide a better picture of a candidate’s fit for a position.

The tool was developed by Sydney-based human resources professional Fiona McLean.

“I wanted to solve the problem of how to know that a great candidate is really a great culture fit for a company,” she says.

“So we created a data-driven platform that could help businesses understand the relevance of social media in the context of their workplace.”

Currently the HR department looks at a candidate’s CV, does a few reference checks, conducts interviews and checks on any published works.

Increasingly, McLean started checking social media, finding that a digital footprint can support a candidate’s strengths and fit without interview nerves getting in the way.

“Through a very transparent platform, the Social Index provides employees and candidates with a unique report that offers relevant, consistent and actionable insights,” she says. “Over time, the tool allows HR managers to benchmark key data.”

The Social Index comes into play when a candidate is shortlisted.

They get an email with a unique link and are asked to give permission for access to their social media channels.

A data analytics process then prepares a report for both employer and candidate. The process takes about one minute.

Here’s a sample:

McLean says privacy and reputation management is key.

“We measure what matters for the role and the business culture and nothing else,” she says.

“Importantly, the employer never ‘sees’ any individual posts or individual comments or photos or anything personal. All the employer sees is the finished report with key highlights about social interaction, time of posting, online engagement and a few other data points.”

She says the extra data makes the final interview more relevant and interesting.

“It’s a permission-based approach, like any other part of the hiring process,” she says. “Our app is only active for the time it takes to complete the data sampling, less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee.”

Mclean says she’s already working with businesses in Australia to test the effectiveness of the tool.

Here’s another part of a sample Social Index report:

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