70% of employers use social media to research candidates

Don't miss out on your dream job

Social media may be a great way to connect with friends and family, but it is also a valuable tool to help potential employers conduct pre-employment social media screening. 

According to a survey conducted in 2018 by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social networking sites to research candidates. Of those 70%, 57% have found content which dissuaded them from hiring candidates.

So, how can you make sure you are not part of that 57%?

Don't miss out on your dream job by failing a social media screen

Why do recruiters check social media?

But first, why do recruiters look at social media? Well, candidates’ social media accounts can be a valuable source of unfiltered information. They provide recruiters with an authentic view of a candidate’s interests, personality, and values.

31% of recruiters cited an instance where the candidate’s social media reflected a good personal fit with the company culture which, in turn, led to them being hired. 

The main forms of social media checked by recruiters

Social media screening is also a great way for recruiters to see the passion candidates have for their field. A public Facebook account showing off graphic design skills or a marketing blog are two examples of people who are passionate about their field. This is great for recruiters to see and suggests the candidate will bring that passion into their next job. 

Additionally, screening social media is a good way for recruiters to check how prepared the candidate is. You should always assume your social media can be seen by a future employer. Consequently, you should ensure that all public content is clean and professional. Anything you do not want a potential employer to see needs to be hidden under relevant privacy settings.

A good rule of thumb is to ensure that all your social media only reflects the best version of you – you don’t want to give the wrong impression.


Things to avoid on your social media profiles

So, but what kinds of content do recruiters look for?

CareerBuilder broke down the primary content that repels recruiters from employing candidates. The top reason at 40% is the candidate posting inappropriate content, such as videos, photos and information. This is closely followed at 36% by candidates posting content regarding alcohol or drug use, as well as candidates posting discriminatory content or comments related to race, gender, or religion (31%). The remaining reasons are listed below where the candidate:

  • Was linked to criminal behaviour: 30%
  • Had poor communication skills: 27%
  • Bad-mouthed previous company/colleague: 25%
  • Had an unprofessional screenname: 22%
  • Shared confidential information: 20%
  • Lied about an absence: 16%
  • Posted too frequently: 12%
Things to avoid on your social media profiles

How to reflect the best version of yourself 

Finally, what can you do to broadcast the best version of you for social media screening?

A good way to prepare your social media for being screened is to log out of all social media and Google yourself. This allows you to see how you appear to an outsider which, in turn, gives you the opportunity to fix anything that you would not be comfortable revealing to a potential employer.

It is important for you to be professional online and be aware of what others are saying about you. Anywhere your name is mentioned - employers can find it. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your privacy settings are set up in such a way so that an outsider cannot see what you are tagged and mentioned in. Facebook allows you to set your profile up in such a way so that any posts you are tagged in have to be approved by you before they show up on your feed. A funny photo to you and your friends might not be as amusing to a potential employer.

Above all, you should continue to maintain and check your social profile regularly, even after you are hired. Make sure that your online presence is professional and be proactive about what you post. Therefore, when the time comes for your profile to be checked, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. 

How to reflect the best version of yourself

Christian Madsen - Managing Director at 11 Recruitment
Christian Madsen
Managing Director
11 Recruitment

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