There was a time when a great CV or a well thought-out application would encapsulate all the information your prospective employer would need to know before you were invited along to the dreaded interview room. You were safe in the knowledge that you were in complete control as to what information your interviewers had about you and you could adapt your responses to meet the occasion.
However, in the modern digital age recruiters can amass a great deal more information about you without you knowing from the internet. And if you are not careful, tenuous assumptions could be made which have a detrimental effect on your interview chances.
According to the Recruiter Nation Survey 2015 by Jobvite, 92% of employers now use social media as part of their recruitment process.
There has been a great debate going on for some time now about just how private the information you place on social media actually is. How much data do social media companies such as Facebook keep about you? Is it tracking your online activities? How is information used? Who is party to it? At the current time, these kind of questions seem out of our control and all we can do is hound our governments to make our privacy absolute.
But the information that you make available to your followers, friends and colleagues on your social media accounts is totally under your control. And if this information is not honed, presented well and regularly updated, it can have a drastic effect on whether you get that job interview or not.
Beware the Subtle Messages
It is not just the facts and figures either. Recruiters will look at how you use your accounts, how you communicate, and how you put yourself forward to form an impression of your personality and work capacity. In a world where there are far too many job seekers searching for one post, and employers lose money and time on interviewing processes, interviewers will use these signals to filter out those applicants who do not appear to be up to the mark.
As professionals we all want to spend more time on our social media accounts – making those important connections and updating what we are doing on a daily basis. But it is the very fundamentals of an account that could be really giving out negative vibes.
Think Twice About That Next Post
For instance, how professional was that last message you put up? Does it show a side to you that you would really not like a prospective employer cogitating over? Poor grammar and poor spelling can send signals suggesting poor education or laziness and slovenliness. In communication, poor grammar or swearing can show disrespect for the person you are communicating with. What is the substance of your posts? Do you talk about your colleagues (or boss!) in a negative way? This would clearly be detrimental to those trying to ascertain your approach to your daily workplace.
What Information May They Be Looking At?
There is no doubt that ideally, all candidates should be treated the same and so therefore employment decisions should only be made on documents you have provided specifically for the job role (such as CV and application form) but there is no getting away from the fact that social media is accessible and bad sub-conscious feelings can turn the balance of favour against you.
It would be illegal for interviewers and prospective employers to make decisions based on factors such as ethnicity, weight, religion and disability. But on social media accounts such as linked in where you are expected to behave as a professional – prospective employers may be looking for signals that back up the facts and the professionalism you profess on your application form.
According to Jobvite employers are likely to look at any social media account to glean further information but the three most popular sites used are:
87% use Linked in
55% use Facebook
47% use Twitter
For the professional person there is no better place to be social media account than Linked In. But that is not the only place a prospective employer may think to look. As well as professionalism, and secondary concrete information about your employment history he/she may well be looking for information about your personality and skills. For instance, those people who post regularly on Instagram are likely to be creative; Facebook tends to give an impression of the character behind the professional persona.
What Information Should You Pay Attention To?
Get into the social media mind-set. Before you put any more facts up, send out another post or tweet, consider how it would appear to those professionals who may be judging you. Think twice before you put up that hurried selfie, or that post about how you got drunk the night before you were due in for work.
If you are job-seeking actively use social media as an extra tool to blow your prospective employer out of the water. Tailor your profiles to reflect the standards you need to aspire to in the job description. Delete those recent posts that may give a skewed impression of your professional life.
Make your profile more effective with factors that a prospective employer may be looking for. For instance, those times when you did some volunteer work could well put you in a very good light, engaging with networks (and relative groups specific to the job post).
Show enthusiasm by taking part in online activities relevant to the job post
Make sure your profile is up to date and is in sync with your CV or application form. Discrepancies could cause concern. If you are going for a marketing post or a post which is specifically to do with digital media show your prowess by using all the tools on each social media account which is available to you. A marketer who does not use digital media properly is off to a bad start!
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