Could your future boss be making a hiring decision based on your online profile? According to a survey from CareerBuilder.co.uk, 27 per cent of employers in the UK said they either currently use social networking sites to research potential job candidates or plan to start. Specifically, 15 per cent of employers said they currently screen potential employees on social networking sites and another 12 per cent said although they do not, they intend to start.
Some of the content on social networking sites that employers have said caused them not to hire candidates include:
· Candidate had poor communication skills
· Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
· Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs
· Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or a fellow employee
· Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers
· Candidate lied about qualifications
· Candidate used discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.
· Candidate had an unprofessional screen name
· Candidate was linked to criminal behavior
“Employers are not just using these sites to eliminate candidates, many are also viewing these tools as a way to get a more well-rounded view of a candidate,” said Tony Roy, President of CareerBuilder EU. “Social networking profiles can also give job seekers an edge over the competition. Candidates can use their profiles to better position themselves, network and provide additional information that cannot be found on a resume.”
Hiring managers who said they researched job candidates via social networking said the following content helped to solidify their decision to hire a candidate:
· Candidate’s background supported their qualifications for the job
· Candidate had great communication skills
· Candidate was a good fit for the company’s culture
· Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image
· Candidate had great references posted about them by others
· Candidate showed a wide range of interests
· Candidate received awards and accolades
· Candidate’s profile was creative
Employers Using Social Networking Sites to Recruit Candidates
Employers are not just using social networking sites to screen candidates, many are also turning to these sites to help them find candidates. Fifteen per cent of hiring managers in the UK said they either currently use social networking sites to recruit potential job candidates or plan to do so by the end of the year.
“Nearly half of employers say on average it takes them more than two months to fill an open full-time position,” said Roy. “Employers are increasingly exploring new ways to connect with potential candidates.”
Roy recommends the following tips to favorably position yourself on social networking sites:
1. Clean up digital dirt. Make sure to remove pictures, content and links that can send the wrong message to a potential employer before you start your job search.
2. Update your profile regularly. Make sure to include specific accomplishments, inside and outside of work.
3. Monitor comments. Since you can’t control what other people say on your site, you may want to use the “block comments” feature.
4. Join groups selectively. While joining a group with a fun or silly name may seem harmless, it may not give the best impression to a hiring manager. Also be selective about who you accept as “friends.”
5. Go private. Consider setting your profile to “private,” so only designated friends can view it.