More than one in three jobseekers think employers do not look at their social media profile, but 60% of employers use social media to gain a deeper understanding of a candidate’s skills and experience, according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays.
Of 561 jobseekers Hays polled, 37% said they do not alter their social media habits when job searching because employers won’t look at their profiles. But 51% said they change their privacy settings when job searching and the remaining 12% un-tag pictures and edit content.
A separate survey of more than 280 hiring managers found 60% use social media or Web 2.0 tools to gain a deeper understanding of a candidate’s skills. 57% use such tools to validate CV content and 50% use them to screen candidates. One third (34%) do so to find out who a candidate associates with.
“While there are many advantages to using social media as part of your job search it can also work against you if you are not careful,” says Lisa Morris, Regional Director of Hays in Adelaide.
“Most candidates have a social media profile, and when it comes to job hunting it is important you are responsible with it. A growing number of hiring managers believe that such content can give a good insight into a candidate’s character and likely cultural fit with the organisation.
“In such cases, a Facebook profile with a public setting, content on video-sharing sites or on forums or blogs may reveal information that could make an interviewer see you in a different light.
“That’s why we advise candidates to assume that all publicly available online content could be used as part of the decision making process. Change your privacy settings and be sensible in the content you post online.
“But don’t just restrict your focus to pure social sites like Facebook or Twitter - Google your name to make sure all online content is appropriate.
“This will help keep your work and social life separate in the job hunting process, particularly if candidates feel their personal life should remain outside the assessment process.”
Candidates can also use social media to their advantage. According to Lisa, many candidates attempt to use the web to enhance a potential employer’s perception of them - for example, by creating a LinkedIn profile and leveraging the network.
“To do this effectively, a candidate needs to have a clear idea of the role they’re looking for and find groups related to this particular field,” she says.
“Other candidates are showing their passion for their particular specialisation by blogging about latest trends. This can highlight their expertise to a potential employer.
“While these are sensible steps to take in today’s jobs market, it’s also advisable to remember that social media will not replace the traditional recruitment process. Recruitment is a people industry, and an employer still needs to see a candidate’s CV and meet them face-to-face. So we advise candidates not to neglect writing a solid CV or preparing for an interview in favour of enhancing their online presence.”
Updated 20 JUly 2012