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What information would a prospective employer find about you on social media?

Posted on 10/11/2011 by Emma Dadswell

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Whilst browsing Twitter recently, we came across a great infographic detailing how recruiters are using social media in their candidate search. The illustration, courtesy of Reppler, can be found here.  But for those who want a short summary, the survey of more than 300 hiring professionals found that:

  1. 91% of respondents claim to screen candidates via social media.
  2. Facebook comes out on top with 76% of those surveyed citing this as the main source to look up job seekers.
  3. 47% look at social media profiles as soon as they receive an application.
  4. 69% admitted to rejecting an individual based on what they found on a social media profile.
  5. 68% claimed that details of a candidate sourced on the web resulted in a candidate being hired.

These figures speak for themselves; social media really is playing an increasing role in the recruitment activities of businesses. It is perhaps more important than ever then for job seekers to not only utilise social media, but also to ensure that what can be found online won’t have a detrimental effect on their career.

So how can you, as a candidate, use social media to your advantage?  First and foremost, make sure your privacy settings on Facebook are tight.  An inappropriate photo, comment, or video could deter a perspective employer – even if it was some time ago.

The infographic suggests that hiring managers are also finding positive sources of information on social media. So make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and shows off your achievements and experiences. But also take advantage of the ‘recommendations’ option. These can act as a reference before you even get the job! Ask past colleagues, managers and clients to recommend you highlighting what your skills and experience are and what it is like working with you. This could very well sway a decision to hire you.

Another great way to highlight your skills is by participating in online discussions. This might be via LinkedIn in an industry related group, or on Twitter. By joining in conversation and commenting on trends, you will not only expand your contacts, you will also become known within the online community as a respected industry commentator.

The influence of social media in the hiring process is certainly here to stay - so embrace it! Make sure that what a business finds about you will positively influence its decision to hire you, and not the other way round.  Good luck!