It’s not just a résumé being scrutinized at a job interview anymore—it’s also social media accounts, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. As new research has found, many employers now do implement social media screening as a standard aspect of the hiring process. A study from CareerBuilder has shown that the percentage of employers who use a social media screen prior to hiring is at 70%, which is 10% higher than only a year ago.
In addition to the now standard social media screen for job candidates, a lot of employers – almost 70% – are also going beyond the social media networks and using search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo to do screening research, up from 59% last year.
The prospect of having a social media screen done is sometimes enough for potential job candidates to wipe their entire online presence, since they may fear a long-forgotten yet still embarrassing post to be dredged up, but doing so can also backfire in a very negative way. An estimated one-quarter of all hiring managers assume or even expect a job candidate to have some form of online presence, and that number is added to the almost 60% who are not as likely to request an interview from someone that can’t be found online.
The Chief of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, Rosemary Haefner, said that, “This shows the importance of cultivating a positive online persona. Job seekers should make their professional profiles visible online and ensure any information that could negatively impact their job search is made private or removed.”
Contrary to some beliefs, the social media screen is not to find reasons to give the job to someone else, rather it is to find qualifications to hire the candidate. Out of the numerous amounts of employers who use social media screening services, such as Fama, a study revealed that 61% were found to be looking for the candidates qualifications, 50% were trying to make sure the candidate maintained a professional online presence, and 37% were looking for what other people said about the candidate. Of those numbers, only 24% were seeking reasons why not to hire.
Even if the company or employer is looking for qualifications, stumbling on any of the following list can be a major turn-off:
- Photos posted that contain inappropriate or provocative imagery
- Photos posted with drug or alcohol use
- Comments posted that have discriminatory content
- Comments posted with insulting content about colleagues or a previous employer
- A screen name that was highly unprofessional
- Links to criminal activity or behavior
- Sharing confidential information that belongs to a former employer
Laura Betourne, a social media specialist at Uproar PR, said that, “Employers with a strong company culture are looking at more than just your job experience.” She recommends that a candidate uses their “personal accounts to convey your personality, and share your hobbies and favorite pastimes.”