If you are job searching, it is well worth your time to prioritize a thorough sweep of your social media account content to ensure you are comfortable with your online brand. Monitoring your privacy settings on your social media accounts is highly recommended, especially during a job search.
Surveys such as the Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey for 2015 and the Annual CareerBuilder Social Media Recruitment Survey report these statistics regarding social media and how recruiters utilize social media for recruitment efforts.
▪ 96 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts.
▪ 52 percent of employers now use social networks to screen candidates.
▪ 35 percent of employers say they are less likely to interview an applicant they cannot find online.
▪ LinkedIn is still the most popular recruiting network and is used by 87 percent of survey respondents.
Only 4 percent of recruiters do not use social media in the recruiting process. The data in these surveys also revealed that the 96 percent are mostly using LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, in that order, to research candidates.
I consulted Eric Pierce, Director of Louisville Operations at Brooksource, on this the subject. Brooksource specializes in IT hiring, recruiting and staffing needs. Brooksource is ranked #1 in the medium-sized company category in the 2016 Best Places to Work in Kentucky by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Society for Human Resource Management.
Pierce does conduct internet research on candidates prior to interviews, he said. Brooksource hires much of their staff directly out of college and internet research can be more helpful in screening candidates than a resume with little experience listed. Like other organizations, cultural fit and ability to work in teams is a critical component of evaluating candidates.
But, according to Pierce, “An individual’s social media footprint is a decent indication of how someone is going to fit in with your company’s mission and goals.”
LinkedIn is Pierce’s primary resource when conducting candidate research. He suggests that having a basic LinkedIn profile set up is very important in the professional world. While LinkedIn profiles have not replaced standard resumes, some companies using the LinkedIn job board allow candidates to apply with their profile, rather than submitting a resume.
Pierce may also skim Facebook or Twitter and perform a Google search to identify any red flags on candidates during the recruitment process. Red flags may include racist or sexist comments, scandalous photos, etc. He also mentioned the importance of teamwork in the Brooksource culture. Candidates with excessive Twitter battles or those with themes of expressing combative language may not be a good fit for his team.
Lack of a LinkedIn profile may also indicate a red flag. Technology and social media play a large role in what Brooksource does, so it seems only fair that Pierce is screening candidates with these tools. Pierce shared that no one is suggesting that candidates should not be genuinely themselves. However, candidates should remember that companies are not required to hire you. If you consider yourself to be opinionated or often share offensive content on social media, consider reviewing your privacy settings.
Candidates can use social media to their advantage by sharing content that is genuine and allows others to get to know you in a positive way. Share about your passions, family and hobbies. Pierce says, “Any well-rounded, hireable person has a personal life and a professional life. On the professional side, you should have a LinkedIn account.”
If you are unsure if something is appropriate for social media during your job search, chances are, it is not worth posting. A great advantage to social media is that it is easily updated. You can rebrand your image and ensure potential employers, family and friends see content that you are comfortable being associated with your name.
Amanda Schagane serves as a career coach in the Gatton College of Business & Economics at UK. She is designated a Master Career Specialist by the National Career Development Association and has served as president for the Kentucky chapter of the organization. Join her on LinkedIn or email her at Amanda.Goldsmith@uky.edu.