Your Social Media posts could mean you miss that job offer

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  • According to a 2018 CareerBuilder Survey, 70% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates during the hiring process;
  • Nearly half (48%) check up on current employees on social media;
  • A third have reprimanded or fired an employee based on content found online;
  • Your Social Media presence can also have a positive impact.

Your social media posts might be designed to impress friends, but according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, they could also have a big impact on prospective employers. And not always a good one! 70% of (private sector) employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, while another 7% plan to start. And the impact: Of those that do social research, 57% have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.

The US survey (presumably fairly relevant to Australia also) was conducted online in April/May, 2018. It included a representative sample of 1,000+ hiring managers and HR professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

What’s being checked?

It’s not just the social sites that are being used to search about candidates – 66% of employers say they use search engines for this research.

Nearly half of employers (47%) say that if they can’t find a job candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for interview – both because they like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview; and because they actually expect candidates to have an online presence.

Of employers using social networking sites to research potential candidates, what they’re looking for is:

  • Information that supports their qualifications: 58%
  • If the candidate has a professional online persona: 50%
  • What other people are posting about the candidate: 34%
  • A reason not to hire the candidate: 22%

Content to be Careful About

As social media permeates our lives, what you post online can have serious and lasting consequences. The primary reasons that employers noted when they found content on a social networking site that led to them not hiring a candidate were:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or info: 40%
  • Candidate posted info about them drinking / using drugs: 36%
  • Candidate had discriminatory comments re race, gender, religion, etc.: 31%
  • Candidate was linked to criminal behaviour: 30%
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 27%
  • Candidate had poor communication skills: 27%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer / fellow employee: 25%
  • Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22%
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 20%
  • Candidate lied about an absence: 16%
  • Candidate posted too frequently: 12%

Social media presence can also have a positive impact. Those that found content that led them to hire a candidate said it was because they saw:

  • Candidate’s background information supported their qualifications for the job: 37%
  • Candidate was creative: 34%
  • Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image: 33%
  • Candidate was well-rounded / wide range of interests: 31%
  • Got a good feel for their personality, could see a good fit within the company culture: 31%
  • Great communications skills: 28%
  • Candidate received awards and accolades: 26%
  • Other people posted great references about them: 23%
  • Candidate had interacted with company’s social media accounts: 22%
  • Candidate posted compelling video or other content: 21%
  • Candidate had a large number of followers or subscribers: 18%

The Monitoring Doesn’t Stop Once on the Job

Employers continue to monitor employees’ online presence even after they’re hired. Nearly half of employers (48%) say they use social networking sites to research current employees—10% do it daily. Further, a third of employers (34%) have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

The Message

Like it nor not, social media profiles don’t exist in isolation. You can manage privacy settings to an extent, but the bigger and better message is – be aware of what you’re projecting … and always assume it could be discoverable. And, it’s out there for a while!

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