by Nora Bright
Social media and our online presence is an ever-increasing phenomenon. People on both sides of hiring, employers and candidates, spend more and more time engaged online. Candidates are looking for openings and researching companies; employers are looking for candidates and evaluating them, via social media, for potential hires.
As a candidate, similar to how you represent yourself in real life — your personal rules of conduct — your online self represents you, too.
According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Social Media Recruitment Survey, the number of employers using social media to screen candidates has increased 500% over the last decade. Now, 60% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates.
Since so many hiring authorities are incorporating social media into their searches, it’s to your advantage to make sure each of your social media profiles reflects you in a positive manner. Even if you don’t list your profiles on your resume, a Google search may net your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat profiles.
An associate of mine recently recounted a situation in which a candidate was dropped from consideration due to insensitive subject matter posted on Facebook. The content was judged to reflect the candidate’s values, ethics, and demeanor. As my colleague so aptly reminded me, “We are what we post” in this era of open communication.
The CareerBuilder survey found that almost half of hiring managers surveyed said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate.
Content like this convinced hiring managers the candidate wasn’t what they were looking for:
- Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
- Information about candidate drinking or using drugs
- Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc.
- Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee
- Poor communication skills indicated by bad grammar and typos in posts
On the flip side, about 1/3 of hiring authorities found information that caused them to hire a candidate, including:
- Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications
- Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image
- Candidate’s personality came across as a good fit with company culture
- Candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests
- Candidate had great communication skills
Other good points to remember:
The saying, “A photo is worth a thousand words,” means your profile picture on LinkedIn or images on Facebook may say more about your personality than your resume ever will. It just takes one photo or one comment for someone to think twice.
It’s okay to reflect some of your personality and interests via social media: if you have a hobby or passion for something, if you enjoy nature or support a non-profit organization and you post about those activities, it can add value to your profile.
Social media works both ways: most companies have their own social media accounts to help with marketing, brand development and sharing the latest buzz. As a candidate, it may be wise to seek out your company’s social media pages to get a deeper sense about a company and whether or not you feel they could be the right fit for you.
Nora Bright is Vice President and Co-owner of Bristol Associates. See Nora’s LinkedIn profile here.
Bristol Associates is an executive search firm with a 49-year history of excellence. Bristol specializes in recruiting for companies and candidates in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital/healthcare, hotels/resorts, travel/tourism/attractions, facilities/concessions, restaurant and nonprofit/arts businesses.