What happens when recruiters view your social media

We all know that more and more recruiters are scanning the social media accounts of job candidates. But what exactly are they looking for? A recent survey was published with some important results. If anything on this list looks familiar, you may want to go through your posts and start deleting.

“Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn provide potential employers with a glimpse of who you are according to social recruiting expert”, Chris Russell. “Many recruiters look at your public social media content once you get to the final stage of the hiring process.”

According to the survey, hiring managers are most likely to use social networks to screen candidates in the areas of information technology and sales; they are least likely to screen professional and business services.

  • IT: 76 percent
  • Sales: 65 percent
  • Financial services: 61 percent
  • Health care: 59 percent
  • Retail: 59 percent
  • Manufacturing: 56 percent
  • Professional and business services: 55 percent

It’s not common for hiring managers to intentionally search for negatives. In the survey, Six in ten employers (60 percent) who currently research job candidates through social networking sites are “looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job”. This information often includes a professional portfolio. Fifty-three percent of these hiring managers are looking for the candidate’s professional online persona, 30 percent are looking to see what other people are saying about the candidate, and 21 percent admit they’re searching for negatives or reasons to not hire the candidate.

Ordinarily, a recruiter who wants to learn more about you will Google you or look up your name on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. Keep in mind what will they find out about you when they do so.

Friending the Recruiter

Although there’s a lot of talk about the various ways social media blunders can cost you a job, it doesn’t mean you need to keep your profiles completely private. More than two in five employers (41 percent) – a 6 percent increase over the previous year – state they are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information online about that person.

Thirty-six percent of employers who screen through social networks have made “friend requests” or followed candidates who have private accounts. 68 percent –down from 80 the previous year – say they’ve been granted permission.

A candidate’s online information can help or hurt their chances of getting a job, depending on what hiring managers find.  Of those hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks, 49 percent found information that led them to not hire a candidate – about the same as the previous year’s 48 percent. The most common pieces of information that turned off these employers were:

  • Offensive or inappropriate pictures, videos or content – 46 percent
  • Posts about candidate drinking or using illegal drugs – 43 percent
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. – 33 percent
  • Bad mouthing a previous company or coworker – 31 percent
  • Poor communication skills – 29 percent

On the other hand, nearly one-third of employers who screen candidates via social networks (32 percent), found content which led them to hire the candidate, including:

  • Candidate’s job credentials supported by background information – 44 percent
  • Candidate’s site established a professional image – 44 percent
  • Candidate’s personality appeared to be a good fit with company culture – 43 percent
  • Candidate demonstrated a wide range of interests – 40 percent
  • Candidate showed great communication skills – 36 percent

So when it comes to your job search use social media wisely. Keep it clean and make sure the content only goes to validate your candidacy.