(image via Social Media Mom)

It’s that time of year again; every HR professional’s inbox is flooded with resumes and cover letters from the fresh-faced and eager graduates of the class of 2014 looking to land their dream jobs. Inevitably, many hiring managers’ eyes glaze over as they read resume after resume in 10-point font, so take a new approach and check out a candidate’s social media presence- it’s a great a way to determine whether they’re the real deal.

Here are a few things to look for:

1.Do they talk the talk?

Does the candidate’s cover letter and application use language that shows they’re knowledgeable about what the position actually entails? For example, if the candidate says they interned at a PR agency, they should at least have the basic terminology down (media lists, pitches, press releases, etc.), and be able to back it up with writing samples.

2.Do they walk the walk?

If a candidate is applying for a social media position, their personal social media channels should be the first thing the hiring manager checks. If the candidate does not have a Twitter or LinkedIn page of their own, they will have to be trained, using company resources. Worse yet, if a candidate has personal social media channels visible to the public and they contain inappropriate content or display questionable behavior.   That type of carelessness should raise some serious red flags.

3.Are they truly interested?

Check your social channels to see if the candidate is following you and engaging with your content. If a candidate has been following your company for several months and retweeting you or participating in your LinkedIn conversations, it shows that they are already invested in your company. If a candidate has been reading and sharing your content, they probably already have a good sense of what your company does and therefore it’s clear they truly want to be a part of it.

4.Creativity is Key.

Does the candidate go above and beyond to put their best foot forward? Maybe they have an About Me page, or a personal blog that shows their personal photography or writing samples. The ideal candidate for a position at any PR agency has an online presence that is professional, creative, and authentic.

You can learn a lot about a person through even a shallow dive on social media, so use it to your advantage when screening potential candidates. Just remember, candidates might also be checking out your channels, so make sure your personal pages are either set to private or completely void of NSFW posts.