Think employers only check LinkedIn and that your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are inconsequential when you’re applying for a job? Think again. The number of HR departments and recruiters using social media as well as Internet searches to screen candidates is at an all-time high, new research finds.
A national survey conducted by Harris Poll for CareerBuilder earlier this year addressed the impact of a worker’s online presence during hiring and employment. The survey of more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector revealed a majority trend towards taking a candidate’s social media activities as seriously as their resume.
Seventy percent (70%) of employers use social media to screen candidates, up from just 11 percent in 2006. This social recruiting has become a key part of HR departments investigating social networking sites for information about a candidate, including support for a candidate’s qualifications, if the candidate maintains a professional online persona, and what other people are posting about the candidate. Employers aren’t just looking at social media; sixty-nine percent (69%) are also using online search engines such as Google and Bing, a ten percent increase over last year.
Most are actually trying to find reasons to put a candidate through to the next stage. More than 4 in 10 employers have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate over another. Primary reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social media profiles include if a candidate’s online information supported their professional qualifications, demonstrated excellent communication skills, displayed a professional image, and showed creativity. While less than a quarter of hiring managers are specifically looking for a reason not to hire a candidate, more than half of those that participated in the survey decided not to hire a candidate for an open role based on information discovered online.
With this new research confirming what many job applicants already feared, here are some best practices for putting your best foot forward online.
The fear of having embarrassing or negative information discovered might tempt some job candidates to delete their online profiles, but this strategy could backfire. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of hiring managers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job candidate online and of that group, thirty-six percent (36%) like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview and twenty-five percent (25%) expect candidates to maintain an online presence.
Just because you got the job doesn’t mean you can disregard what you post online. More than half of employers surveyed use social media sites to research current employees, and a third have reprimanded or fired an employee due to content found online.
The need to hide or remove any non-professional content should be obvious, but your online persona should still demonstrate who you are. Employers with a strong company culture use personal accounts to get a feel for personality, hobbies, and pastimes, which can help flesh out a cold resume into a full picture of a person.
Today, Millennials account for over a third (1/3) of the U.S. workforce, according to Pew Research, and will account for seventy-five percent (75%) of the global workforce by 2025. Given that this group of employees has grown up actively engaging on social media sites and devices, the use of social media as a workplace trend is here to stay.
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