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Checking a candidate’s digital footprint


Check your candidate's digital footprint to learn more about them during the interview process. Posted by Michele Gutermuth
Check your candidate's digital footprint to learn more about them during the interview process.

You have multiple CVs, you have done a few phone screens, you have picked some of your favorites from your pile of physician candidates, but you are still not sure who to bring in for an on-site interview. Either no one stands out above the rest, or they all do.

How will they fit in with the existing group? How will they get along with the whole team?

You need to make sure the physician candidate you choose will be an extension of your company, and in today’s cancel culture, you want to check out their digital footprint.

This is why I used social media to look at potential candidates during my time as a physician recruiter. I wanted to see what they liked, what they didn’t like, but mostly what they said. Just make sure you only look at what is posted to the public and use it for your purposes, which is your work environment.

One doctor I was working with was qualified, had nothing on the databank, had excellent references, but he was often short with me on the phone and would cut me off.

When I researched him further, he had posted awful comments about his wife, which I later found out was because he was going through a divorce and a bad custody battle. I always empathize when someone is going through that because there are multiple sides to that story, but I could no longer represent him due to what he wrote. It was that bad. I know doctors are just like everyone else, but I would not go to anyone in any profession who publicly shared what he did.

Let them know your plans

You may consider letting a potential candidate know before bringing them into an interview that you do a public search on Google and their public posts on social media so they are aware.

Some physicians may feel looking at their social media crosses the line between work and personal, but you can ask them if they are friends on social media with anyone with whom they work, which will usually answer that question. 

If it upsets the candidate. If it does, that person was probably not a good fit for your organization. Suppose they cannot listen to a reasonable, non-threatening conversation; everyone sees this contact as unwilling to take any direction. If this is the case, that physician may not be prepared to take any advice well. But if they are eager to listen and offer to take the post down or adjust it, you will have someone with whom you can work.

See the positives of a digital footprint

Ultimately, having a digital footprint for a physician is a good thing. You want the physician to have some publishing, poster presentation, articles and other items that would place their name online. If they have been in practice, you know you will be looking at their Vitals report even if you choose not to place merit in the results.

If there is nothing on the physician, I would question this. They must have something about them written somewhere. At this time, this would be a huge red flag.

Start your search

You should do a Google search to check and see if it lines up with their CV, then with all their social media accounts. This means more than just LinkedIn. While you may see their work profile there, you need to remember you are not just hiring someone whose experience looks good.

From Instagram to Twitter to Facebook - if you investigate what they post on other sites, you can find out a lot.

Keep in mind if you are hiring a doctor right out of residency, they may have some immature content you can discuss with them, and you can be the person to help them promote themselves more positively.

Know what to look for

Make sure what someone posts is positive. Even if you do not necessarily agree with the content, you can work with that if the message is positive. See if people "liked" the content and if they shared it. If someone "liked" it, that means they found value, and if they shared it, they believe the post will give others value. If someone comments, they are interested in engagement.

You want to see if their online presence reflects the value of the organization and the practice team. Be careful that you don’t let your own bias reflect in your decision-making.

You probably won’t be able to get a feel for someone’s personality in an interview or a phone screen, but looking over someone’s online presence will help you gauge a bit of what a person might be like. Are they passive-aggressive with their posts? Are they “in your face"? Are they kind and caring?


It is always best to get some thoughts and ideas from someone’s digital footprint, but do not make it your final decision. Make it a piece of the whole puzzle you are putting together. If it is the only thing that does not fit and everything else does, continue getting to know the doctor.


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