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Has Social Media Hindered Your Job Search?

Has Social Media Hindered Your Job Search?

Your resume might make you a recruiter’s dream candidate, but are your social media channels promoting a nightmare?

When recruiters are looking at potential candidates, they don’t necessarily stop at their resume. They may also search for the candidate on Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and more. In other words, that recruiter could be viewing your latest selfie or status update right now – so think twice about what you post.

Two in five employers use social media to pre-screen applicants, according to a article based on a CareerBuilder survey of 2,303 HR professionals. Two-thirds (65%) do so to gauge a candidate’s professionalism, 51% to see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture and 45% want to learn more about their qualifications. Some cited “to see if the candidate is well-rounded” and “to look for reasons not to hire the candidate,” as their motives.

The CareerBuilder survey, according to Forbes, showed that 43% of employers said that they found information online that helped them decide not to hire a particular candidate. 

Even if you consider social media a purely ‘social’ activity, the line between the personal and professional is increasingly blurred. Social media can also play a significant part in the recruitment process – but it’s a double-edged sword. 

Social media self-sabotage
The top reasons hiring managers found to pass on hiring a particular candidate, according to the article are:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photos or information 
  • Evidence of drinking/drug use on social profiles
  • Poor communication skills
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion
  • Lies about qualifications
  • Bad-mouthed previous employers

As a prospective candidate, only you are responsible for your social media behavior, so tread carefully. What are some measures you can take to ensure your online presence is as professional as your resume?

Social media savvy
A smaller percentage of hiring managers – about one in three (29%) – found supportive reasons to hire candidates, according to the CareerBuilder survey. While it isn’t the only strategy for screening a candidate, it’s becoming increasingly important. 

The CareerBuilder survey showed that 29% of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job. Examples cited include:

  • Professional image 
  • Good personality
  • Wide range of interests 
  • Background information supported application 
  • High creativity 
  • Great communication skills 
  • Positive references from others 

Job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content; they should work on building a strong social presence. Job seekers who engage in social media to increase their presence will have an advantage.

Embrace LinkedIn
A LinkedIn profile is essential. Candidates can maximize their use of the site by following the profile-building prompts, and including a professional profile picture. 

Update your security settings on Facebook
Job seekers don’t need to shut down their Facebook page to avoid future employers getting a bit too personal. Instead, access the privacy settings and safeguard Facebook so only friends can view posts and pictures. Be aware that even with the highest security settings, some profile and cover pictures may still be visible to the public so it’s advisable to take down any images that may be damaging to professional prospects.

Careful what you tweet
It’s amazing how much damage can be done in only 140 characters – something that many celebrities, as well as employees, have had to learn the hard way. Like all social media platforms, Twitter can be an asset to a candidate’s personal brand, but mismanagement can leave you jobless. Just remember to always maintain professionalism, and avoid tweeting anything that may be controversial.

It’s a good idea for candidates to follow the company they wish to work for on its social platforms. Not only will it serve as a reminder to keep it clean, it will also give candidates further insights into the business that will help them in interviews and beyond. 

Looking for a new job? Register for Hudson’s job alerts to receive regular updates on new jobs that match your criteria. 


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HRO Baker's Dozen
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