Guidance for Job Seekers | Interview Tips
According to research*, over a third of job hunters have their application rejected after recruiters and employers check out their social media profiles. It’s common practice to screen candidates on social media, piecing together their background and career history on LinkedIn, searching Twitter to see who candidates follow and what they Tweet about, and then Facebook to nose through a candidate’s photos and updates.
While it’s common practice for recruiters, surprisingly many candidates are still unaware that this goes on. It may seem a little underhand to look at personal profiles on Facebook, but if the information is in the public domain it’s fair game. Moreover, for many employers it can highlight why a candidate might not be a good fit for their company, or conversely help you get an interview for a job.
Here I look at how social media can damage or enhance your job prospects.
Over-Sharing On Social Media Can Be Bad For Your Career
We live a in a world of over-sharing where if we don’t post a photo of a night out or how we’re feeling minute by minute, those experiences might never have happened. Our digital footprint is a record of our opinions and emotions, celebrations and disappointments, successes and mistakes. No more so than on social media and particularly on platforms like Facebook.
Recruiters and employers look at these platforms to see whether there is anything that gives them cause for concern. For example, that update where you said you’d phoned in sick because you’re hung over. Or that photo of you acting inappropriately at last year’s Christmas party. Or an opinion forcefully expressed about your previous boss. Rightly or wrongly all these little nuggets of information can add to their overall impression of your suitability for a role, and could be a deciding factor in whether you’re offered an interview or not.
Remember that while these transgressions may not amount to much, in the context of shortlisting candidates they can make all the difference. Given the choice between two equally qualified and experienced candidates, the one with the squeaky clean social media profile is more likely to be invited for interview.
Sharing The Right Content Can Help You Get A Job Interview
Conversely, social media provides you with opportunities to engage potential employers. On professional platforms like LinkedIn you can demonstrate your commitment and passion for your job by sharing relevant content. In fact by sharing industry related content, getting involved in group discussions and commenting on other people’s posts you may even get headhunted for a role.
There are also opportunities on your personal profiles to differentiate yourself from other candidates. It may be tempting to lock down your privacy settings on platforms like Facebook so they can’t see anything, but this might not be the best approach. Recruiters are looking for candidates who are a good cultural fit, so they’re looking for positive attributes such as being a team player. If you take part in team sports or other activities, such as community groups, these can be a good way to demonstrate you have these qualities.
5 Tips For Getting Your Social Media Profiles Interview-Ready
Before applying for a role, take stock of your social media profiles and make sure they’re not giving potential employers a reason to reject you.
- Review what’s in the public domain. If there is anything on your social media profiles that you wouldn’t want a recruiter or prospective employer to see, delete it.
- Change privacy settings. Decide whether it is easier to lock down your privacy settings so only your friends can see your updates. If you decide to allow recruiters to see them, tweak settings to ensure that none of your friends and connections can affect your chances. For example, prevent friends from being able to tag you in photos or posts, so you can control what content is shared about you.
- Update your professional information. Recruiters may cross reference your LinkedIn profile with the information they have about you, so make sure there are no inconsistencies. Also ensure your profile is up-to-date and aligned with the job opportunities you’re interested in.
- Enhance your professional profiles with relevant content. Share industry related content that helps to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and experience.
- Think about potential employers before you share! Before you press ‘post’ or ‘tweet’ consider what impression the content you plan to share will make on a potential employer. You may decide it’s best to moderate your language or lightly tweak what you want to say, just to make sure there is no chance of your post being misinterpreted.
For more advice on LinkedIn please read our post on LinkedIn Tips For Structural Engineers