This article is recommended for individuals at any stage of their careers
Don't miss out on your dream job
Having spent years in the realm of recruitment, I know the importance of not letting your dream job slip through your fingers. In today's digital age, social media is a powerful tool that potential employers use as part of pre-employment screening.
Back in 2018, a survey by CareerBuilder revealed that 70% of employers actively use social media sites to screen candidates. Of that 70%, 57% of employers admitted to finding content that put them off from proceeding with a candidate's application. An inappropriate social media post, photo, or comment could be the deciding factor between landing your dream job and being overlooked.
To avoid being part of 57%, it's critical that you take charge of your online identity. Look at your social media profiles and ensure that the content you share shows you in a positive light.
So, don't underestimate the impact of social media. Embrace it as a tool to sculpt a digital persona that aligns with your aspirations. By doing so, you'll position yourself as a prime candidate for your dream job.
Why do recruiters check social media?
A candidate's social media accounts are a window into their interests, their distinctive personality quirks, and the values that shape their perspective.
Sifting through social media platforms isn't just about peering into a candidate's interests and abilities; it's a litmus test for their preparedness and foresight. Today, anything you post online your future employer can see. Consequently, this underscores the need for a candidate to carefully curate their public online persona. If you don't want a prospective employer to see something, make sure you hide it under the appropriate privacy settings.
In essence, a golden rule that emerges from years of experience is the need for one's social media presence to be a polished reflection of their best self. Crafting a positive, professional image is paramount; it's the first step that ensures you never end up sending unintended messages or leaving a poor impression.
As someone who's been involved in the process of matching talent with opportunities, I have been a firsthand witness to the impact that a well-maintained, social media presence can have on a candidate's journey towards securing their desired role.
Things to avoid on your social media profiles
In my years of experience, I've witnessed a range of errors that candidates make on their social media profiles, unwittingly undermining their prospects. It's important to shed light on the types of content that act as instant red flags for recruiters.
Recently, I came across a breakdown by CareerBuilder that dissects the key content that can alienate recruiters and discourage them from considering candidates for employment. It's imperative for job seekers to recognise these pitfalls in order to present themselves in the best possible light.
Topping the list of deterrents, at 40%, is the sharing of inappropriate content, such as videos, photos, and personal information. It's closely followed by candidates posting about alcohol or drug use at 36%. An equally concerning trend is the posting of discriminatory content or making offensive comments related to race, gender, or religion, a practice that puts off 31% of recruiters.
Delving deeper into the insights, additional factors that give recruiters pause include candidates being linked to criminal behaviour (30%), displaying inadequate communication skills (27%), tarnishing their previous employer or colleagues (25%), adopting an unprofessional screen name (22%), sharing confidential information (20%), misleading about periods of absence (16%), and excessive posting (12%).
How to reflect the best version of yourself
So, how can you ensure that your online presence reflects the best aspects of your character and abilities?
One effective strategy to prepare for the scrutiny of your social media presence is to Google yourself. This gives you the perspective of an outsider looking in which allows you to identify any elements that you might not be comfortable sharing with a potential employer.
Maintaining a professional demeanour online is paramount. Being aware of what others are saying about you is equally crucial, as your online reputation can greatly influence your career prospects. In this digital age, any mention of your name is easily discoverable by employers. Set up your privacy settings in a manner that doesn't allow outsiders to view the content you're tagged or mentioned in.
For instance, platforms like Facebook enable you to set your profile so that any posts you're tagged in require your approval before they appear on your feed. It's important to remember that a seemingly humorous photo shared among friends, a potential employer might not see the same way.
Keeping watch over your social media presence remains essential. By being conscious of what you post, you can ensure that your digital footprint portrays you in the best light possible.
Ultimately, the goal is to be able to approach any future profile checks with absolute confidence, knowing that your online persona is a true reflection of your professional self.
What are your thoughts?
I'd love to have a conversation with you about this topic - please leave a comment below if you have any thoughts or opinions 🙂
Managing Director of 11 Recruitment