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Social Media Puts Job Seekers Under House-Arrest

Ever wondered whether your online social profile is affecting your professional life? Is your Facebook littered with the evidence of another rough night of drinking and debauchery while out on the town? Perhaps your twitter feed is chocked full of smarmy comments. Terribly pithy, sure, but man they’ll make you blush. According to a new study on social media, this could be the reason why you’re at home watching day time TV rather than earning cold hard cash in return for your top quality skills. The evidence collected in the study, gathered from a sample group of 300 persons involved in the personnel hiring process, suggests a staggering 91% of employers use social media networks to screen potential employees. Check it…

Approximately 76% check Facebook profiles, 53% admit to checking Twitter and 48% use LinkedIn to learn about future employees. Of the 91% who check social profiles, 47% screen candidates immediately after receiving an application, this means that a poor social profile could reduce your chance of getting a job interview by just under half, regardless of the quality of your actual application. A further 27% of employers have said they check applicants social profiles after the first conversation, 15% after the first detailed conversation and only 4% will check after having made an offer. This leaves your social profile with an 87% chance of ruining your job application before you even get an offer. In fact, 61% of employers questioned in the study say they have rejected a candidate after examining their online profile, demonstrating the importance of having a professional online presence that highlights your strengths.

The study emphasizes the qualities you absolutely must not expose through your social profile. The reasons employers have said they would not hire people range from inappropriate photos, inappropriate comments, evidence of drinking, taking drugs, comments about previous employers and discriminatory comments, among others. On the other hand, a positive social profile, one that shows your skills and is congruent with your face-to-face personality is likely to increase your chances of gaining employment. 68% of employers admit to having hired someone based on the information they found on a social network. The reasons given were varied, including 39% saying the profile highlighted positive aspects of the applicant’s personality, while 36% said they found evidence to support their stated qualifications and 36% of employers said they were impressed by a candidate’s apparent creativity.

Hey Employers: Are you using Social Media to screen…maybe you should be? Or should you? Just make sure you can look yourself in the mirror after doing so. And there’s a bunch of great HR Software - much of it in a SAAS environment – to help you do this effectively, efficiently, and legally. Do you use it? You probably should.

Hey Job Seekers: Just as you would ensure your CV accurately represents your professional demeanor, you obviously should make certain your online profile does the same. Most social platforms have privacy settings allowing you to keep prying public out. You’re just tempting fate if you’re not using them. Alternatively, you can always choose to only present your ‘best-self’ while using online social mediums; something akin to walking through life under house-arrest.

Image Credit: cesarastudillo (via Compfight)

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  • Cort

    I find it difficult to imagine that some, who are so adept at posting every aspect of their lives on the internet, are surprised to see that potential future employers might utilize such publicly available information to screen candidates. I suppose it has something to do with maturity.

  • Anonymous

    you’d be surprised…oh you’d be surprised. and the extent to which employers are using these platforms for screening has increased ten fold in the last two years alone…many didn’t anticipate it (or even really think about it).

  • http://www.cmoe.com/blog/engage-and-elevate.htm Susan

    I’ve found it helps some people to keep separate profiles, one for work purposes and another for personal connections. They just need to remember to use personal e-mail addresses that they haven’t shared with professional contacts, learn how to make their non-professional profiles private.