Over the past few years, we have seen employers use social media more and more to effectively screen prospective employees before inviting them to attend a face-to-face interview.
According to recent research, a huge 91% of employers use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to screen candidates. Following the screening process, 13% rejected a candidate because they lied about their qualifications. 11% rejected a candidate because they posted inappropriate comments. The same amount rejected a candidate because they posted inappropriate photos. And another 11% rejecting applicants because of posting negative comments about a previous employer.
Social Media Screening
There is no doubt that employers screen potential employees using social media sites. And it goes without saying that this is even more prevalent in the PR, marketing, and digital industries, as roles often require a high level of social media and digital expertise. For example, a client who is looking for a social or community manager will look for examples of blogs, tweets, and so forth, to gain insight into your skills and industry knowledge.
Although 8 out of 10 professionals provide their work details via social media, and many of the potential employer screenings arise purely out of innocent curiosity, candidates should be careful about how they use their social media accounts. If used correctly, social media can have a great impact and a very positive effect. However, if used incorrectly, they could reveal undesirable attributes. In our experience, it is best to keep your private life separate from your professional one. So it may be worth reviewing your privacy settings on all of your social media accounts and ensuring that everything from the past is made private. Whether or not you feel it’s right to do so, employers will look at your social media. So we recommend doing what you can to keep it private.
The Rise Of The Digital
There is no doubt in our minds that recruitment is now becoming more of a digital process. What with the expansion of professional networks and connections, and specialist groups and skill sets, it’s becoming easier to aid employers in matching candidates to their roles. Candidates can prosper too by having an accurate and credible LinkedIn profile. Positive recommendations that endorse their employability and a credible online profile will only enhance their chances of employment.
In a world driven by digital media, it is even more important to verify any information presented online. It’s crucial to remember that social media sites are unregulated in terms of employer’s accreditation. And it would be wrong to rely solely on the information presented on such sites. We still firmly believe that despite the vast breadth of information available through digital media, personal relationships are key. High-quality candidates cannot be sourced solely through their online profile. It is about assessing their personality, character, delving into their work history, and taking a great interest in what they will bring to the role.
The same applies to candidates when looking for a role. A company’s social output or online profile may give you some insight into the people, their client base, and the way they do business. But you wouldn’t take the role without visiting their offices and getting a sense for the office atmosphere and culture!
The Benefits of Social Media
Essentially, then, social media is another tool that needs to be used correctly to feel the benefit in your job search. You shouldn’t rely on it, but nor should you ignore its value. Social media should not be viewed as an entirely negative nor entirely positive way to gain information about individuals or employers. It’s essential that you understand the distinct advantages of showcasing your skills through digital media, traditional methods, and of course, your own personal approach.
Some of the benefits:
- When using social media within your professional life, you effectively have a living CV, which is easy to update and amend when necessary. Candidates thereby make it easier for prospective employers to look into their work history, without having to format long job histories, achievements, and interests.
- The wealth of information that is readily available through social media beats even the longest CV.
- You can easily link your previous achievements, ideas, interests, and thoughts. Instead of listing your personal achievements and interests on a CV, social media can bring them to life. Through actively linking to blogs or video posts, employers can actually see credibility within your interests, whether work-related or personal.
- You will have 24/7 worldwide presence. Instead of the few companies you have sent it to having hold of your CV, everyone, anywhere in the world, at any time, can get an insight into you!
- It’s all about connections. LinkedIn and Facebook are effective platforms on which to build up your online connections. And it’s now even easier to increase your exposure to companies, jobs, and the people in the know.
- Social media provides direct and quick communication. Social media messages are quick and easy to respond to, even outside of typical working hours.
- Being active within the social media world appeals to businesses that are always looking to increase their network range. If they can see you have connections, you will only increase your chances of being a valuable asset.
There are manifold positives of having a social media presence. But you should always remember that an employer is likely to use social media to perform a background check. You need to be aware of the digital footprint that you leave behind and what message that portrays. You wouldn’t show interviewers pictures of debauched nights out with your friends (which most of us have!). So why would you leave that information open for them to find on the internet? Candidates have been rejected during the selection process due to inappropriate postings on social media – we’ve seen it happen.
Of course, you do not need to be posting perfectly constructed posts at all times – this would seem incredibly inauthentic. Just be aware that anyone at any time can be looking at your social media pages. So, whatever is posted, understand that your potential employer’s understanding of you will be directly impacted by it.
If you succeed in creating a positive online presence, with a well-looked after Facebook page (with high privacy settings!), a professional LinkedIn profile, and an interesting Twitter account (or maybe even two – one personal and protected, one professional and open), you’re much more likely to be reviewed favourably by a potential employer.