Is Your Social Profile Holding You Back?

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Who here has posted a few drunken photos of the night before on facebook? Yep, I’ve done it too, but here’s the bad news – according to a recent study 91% of employers use social networks to check up on job candidates before hiring. Apparently 76% of these sneaky employers are using facebook to check up on you, while 53% use twitter. Eek, time to delete those angry, ranting posts littering my various social media accounts!

It turns out 47% of employers screen candidates just after receiving an application, 27% after the first little chin wag, 15% after a full on conversation and only 4% immediately before making an offer. And here’s the clincher; of all those who check, 61% say they’ve rejected a candidate from what they found. What’s the message here? Well, clean up your social profile, and keep it that way. Avoid the party photo uploads and the bitchy ranting about your employer, apparently these two factors alone account for 22% of the reasons why employers turn down candidates after checking.

Along with those reasons you’ve out the obvious slip ups; evidence of drinking, drug taking and lying. These critical mistakes, which will turn off any HR pro, make up a further 32% of turned down applications thanks to social media. Get smart guys and have a strategy for dealing with social media, make sure your private life stays that way; private. I’m also told you can change your privacy settings and stop these crafty employers from checking up on you. Don’t give employers any extra ammunition with which to reject your application, because trust me, they will find it. And don’t think your would-be-employer will overlook or forget about your negative social profile. Many employers use HR software for tracking all applicants to a job. As well as being used to match applicants to jobs, these software packages can be used to keep files on record. Unfortunately, if you’ve applied once before, even if you’ve changed your social profile, this means the red mark will still be against your name.

The good news guys and gals is that 68% of employers said they have hired a candidate based on what they saw on their social profile. Take the hint; make sure your profile accurately represents your best qualities. Show employers what you’re capable of, not how you look passed out on the couch with a half forgotten cocktail about to fall from your loosening grasp! Employers, questioned in this particular study, cited a positive impression of the candidate’s personality to be one of the key reasons they were willing to hire them after viewing their social network. Another top reason was evidence of creativity, meaning it’s time to get technical and make sure there is a beautifully designed, mouth-watering demonstration of your skills somewhere online. Employers also want to see a well rounded person with a few awards and accolades when checking out your social presence. This is old advice for anyone familiar with job applications, but make sure you’re not a one trick pony, diversify your interests and show you’re not going to be robot at a desk.

Social media has become seriously prolific these days. Personally I think the medium is only going to become more important, especially as more and more people get involved on a daily basis. So take down those pictures depicting nights of drunken debauchery, the cynical witticisms hinting at your dislike of modern life and those rants against anyone and everyone who may or may not have castigated you in some way. Instead, display that positive, go get em’ attitude of yours, while demonstrating your creativity and showing off all those awards you earned!

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