As a recruiter, I recently interviewed a seemingly highly competent candidate for an open position. One who had skills aligned with the position, who had ample and relevant experience, who was engaging during the interview and answered questions directly, whose references checked out. But what the candidate didn’t have was clean social media.
The individual’s candidacy was terminated. Which was extremely disappointing because it could have been avoided.
Why does it matter? Why should an individual with questionable on line content not get the job? Well, he/she may be demonstrating unsound judgement, probable misalignment with the company’s culture, plus the inability to be a useful brand ambassador for the organization - at least at that moment.
According to CareerBuilder, 60% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up 52% from 2015. Meanwhile, according to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 93% of recruiters review social media profiles before making a hiring decision.
If your social media profiles are not squeaky clean, you might consider using a pseudonym or making them private. Bad move. Over 40% of hiring managers are less likely to interview candidates if they cannot find information about them on line. Hiring managers consider the ability to engage in social media to be a basic skill, one that transfers across all fields and industries.
Since it is recommended that you maintain an on line presence, what type of content should you avoid/eliminate? To start, any provocative or inappropriate photos, including those depicting alcohol &/or drug use; plus, any discriminatory comments related to another’s race, religion, gender. What, on the other hand, is content that might enhance your chances of being hired? Information that supports your job qualifications and photos that convey a professional image and demeanor.
And remember: you can’t relax your standards once you land the job. According to CareerBuilder, more than 25% of employers found online content that caused them to reprimand or terminate an employee.
If, after reading the above, you are having an “ut oh” moment, then you may want to start cleaning up your online presence. Our suggestion is to first google yourself to see how you appear to your current, and future, employer(s). Then, audit the content you have posted on social media, correcting inaccurate information and removing anything inappropriate, while at the same time, deactivating or deleting any profiles you have no intention of using or updating with fresh content.
Don’t get passed over for a job because you haven’t been paying attention to your on line presence and the story it tells about you!