The Impact of Social Media on Job Hunting by PureKat Consultancy

The Impact of Social Media on job hunting

At PureKat Consultancy, we know how important social media is. Our social media platforms have been invaluable to us within the recruitment industry, from promoting our brand to interested clients to finding the most talented candidates, perfect for our vacancies. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny the importance of your presence online. It’s a fantastic place to post about your accomplishments and successes, but a slip up can ruin your chances of getting a job. That’s why it’s becoming more and more important to review your social media accounts and ensure that you have everything inline to make you as employable as possible.

Recruiters are increasingly scouring the internet for information about their potential employees and hires. According to a Harris Poll survey, 70% of employers admit to using social media to screen candidates before interviewing and hiring them. Not having a social media presence can make you invisible in today’s world, which can make you look out of touch. In another recent study, it was revealed that 57% of employers are less likely to interview a candidate that they can’t find online, while 54% have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles. It’s becoming more and more obvious that an unfortunate social media presence could be the deciding factor between you and another candidate getting the job. Likewise, if you’re currently employed, any online activity that could negatively reflect or affect your workplace could be grounds for termination, or at the very least a warning. More than half of employers admit to checking current employees’ social media profiles, while over a third have reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content. It’s possible that your employment contract contains a clause stating that you must uphold the values of the company online, and any inappropriate or damning updates could invalidate your contract. Therefore it’s essential that your social media activity is kept professional at all times.

From the statistics, we can see the importance of having an online presence that presents a positive, professional persona. Social media is actually becoming a key part of HR departments – in fact, 30% of employers now have someone specifically dedicated to social media. When using social media to research potential candidates for a position, employers are specifically looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job, what others are saying about them, and for any glaringly obvious reasons not to hire someone. This doesn’t just extend across social media platforms – nearly 70% of employers have admitted to Googling candidates, a figure that is rising every year.

So what can you do to make yourself look more hireable to potential employers and hirers? We’ve compiled some do’s and don’ts for you to help you sharpen up your social media presence and get noticed for all the right reasons.

Do – Keep your profiles updated

Just like your CV, your online profiles should all be kept up to date. It’s possible that potential employers may look you up on different platforms, and if they’re all out of sync with each other, saying different things and different employment statuses, you may come across as disorganised or false. Likewise, if you’ve mentioned something on your CV that isn’t listed or mentioned on your LinkedIn profile, this could raise a red flag. Make sure everything is updated and relevant.

Do – Have a professional profile photo

It doesn’t need to be anything super serious, but make sure that your profile picture sends the right message out about you. A photo from a night out might be a fantastic memory but it doesn’t necessarily send the right signals to a new employer or new clients, so keep it professional while you’re job hunting.

Do – Keep it Clean

This should be a no brainer, but it’s important not to post anything offensive on your online platforms. This could include swearing or bad language, controversial political rants or opinions, as well as images of alcohol and drug use. If you’re unsure about things you’ve posted in the past, maybe consider making your accounts private, where only approved followers can see your updates.

Do – Keep it Professional

Before you post anything online, check your spelling and grammar for glaring errors. Nearly 50% of recruiters have said that poor spelling and grammar would negatively affect their hiring decision.

Do – Google Yourself

If you’re actively looking for a job, it’s worth spending some time searching your own name to see what kind of results come up. Whether it’s a photo that makes you seem unprofessional, or an embarrassing childhood social media profile, it’s important to find and clear anything that could negatively affect your chances. If there’s any doubt, try and set your personal profiles to private to avoid any conflict.

Do – Set Your Profiles to Private

Make sure you’re checking in with your security settings frequently so that you know who can and can’t see your information and updates. Make it a point to prevent strangers from seeing your personal information and photographs.

Do – Network

According to a LinkedIn survey, 85% of all jobs are filled via networking. A thoroughly crafted LinkedIn profile can impress hiring managers as well as helping you grow your network of connections, clients and customers. It really is about who you know, so it’s worth making the most of LinkedIn’s social network to make connections with others in your industry or the industry you want to work in. Once you’ve connected with enough people, it’s worth posting about your job search to see if any of your connections have leads on vacancies in your field – you never know who could be looking for your very skill set.

Don’t – Don’t Bad Mouth

30% of employers have admitted to deciding not to hire a candidate for a position due to finding updates on social media accounts that are bad-mouthing their previous jobs or employees. Putting your complaints out there for the world to see is unprofessional and doesn’t make you look like a viable candidate to hire – so just don’t do it. Likewise, whether you’re working in a B2C environment or B2B, don’t mock your customers or clients online. Complaining about customers will only show your company in a bad light, and employers aren’t interested in that.

Don’t – Share Confidential Information

It’s really important to keep any confidential information you are aware of due to your employment or job secret and off of social media platforms. A new employer or your current employer will not take kindly to seeing secrets blasted across the internet. It should go without saying that confidential information should stay confidential.

Don’t – Lie about an Absence

If you’re caught lying about your work absences online, you could both be in trouble with your current employer and frowned upon by your potential new employer. If you’ve called in sick but used that time to do something fun instead of work – keep it offline. You don’t want to dig yourself into a hole.

Best Practices

There are, however, many ways that you can use social media to improve your hireability. Online profiles are a fantastic platform to impress potential employers if you use them cleverly.

  • 65% of recruiters said showcasing your portfolio online, via examples of written or design work, could positively influence their opinion of a candidate.
  • Over 60% of recruiters said that showing volunteer or nonprofit work on social media accounts was a positive influence for hiring factors.
  • Showing evidence of your professional qualifications and employment history will help support the information you’ve given in your CV. For example, getting recommendations on LinkedIn from previous colleagues or managers will show evidence that you really did work in these positions.

Making your social media presence work for you, not against you, is key when both looking for a job and when in employment. Make sure you put aside some time to optimise your professional profiles to an impressive extent, make any inappropriate content private, and present yourself as a dream candidate that will catch a hiring manager’s attention. Get in touch with the PureKat team today to take advantage of our CV review service and for any extra help you might need making sure you’re putting your best self forward online.