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Social media’s use in employment.

Social media has become an integral part of our day-to-day, but what you may not have realised is that it’s also an integral part of the hiring process.

In a recent studyCareer Builder discovered that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from 11% in 2006. When researching candidates on social networking sites, employers are looking for supporting information for the job, such as qualifications, work experience, how the candidate conducts themselves online and what other people are posting about the candidate. It is in this research that employers can also come across reasons not to hire a candidate.

A few key things to be mindful of on your profiles are:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • Heavy drinking or drug-related content
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion
  • Bad mouthing previous companies or employees

The need to hide or remove any inappropriate content should be obvious, but having a squeaky-clean and private profile may do the opposite and suggest you have something to hide. It is an interesting balance of sharing a glimpse into your personality, whilst remaining professional.

It comes back to building your personal brand. Whilst exploring information relevant to the job and your professionalism, many employers will use your social media profiles to assess if you’re a good fit for their company and culture. Nik Hewitt, head of social media at Tank PR commented, “You can learn a lot about people by the way they conduct themselves online. Would you recruit someone with an incomplete LinkedIn profile and no picture? What does it say about someone and the way they might organise their professional life?”

No matter what stage of your career you’re at, an up-to-date and professional but personable online presence is essential.