The short answer? Yes. You might be interested in our long answer, though. The one that covers Why? What do they look for? And what turns them off? Check out the post and learn what you should probably keep off your social profiles while on the job hunt, what hiring managers are doing on there in the first place, and what might just help you stand out from your peers.
Why do hiring managers check your social media?
Hiring managers may check your social media for a number of reasons. They may want to get a feel for your personality and whether you’d be a good fit for their company (in fact, 51% said this was their primary reason for checking a candidate’s social media). If you’re applying for a job in sales where you’ll have to meet lots of new people, they may be interested to see how you interact with strangers. If you’re hoping to land a job that requires a lot of writing, they may want to see that you have good communication skills, even when it’s not “important.” And, according to this study, “44% of hiring managers want to see if a candidate is creative.”
So we can see there are a good number of reasons why a hiring manager might want to check a candidate’s social media. However, according to a study done by Careerbuilder, over 50% of hiring managers who checked a candidate’s social media found a reason not to hire them. Yikes!
Take a look at the top reasons they gave for being turned off by a candidate’s social media:
Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39 percent
Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38 percent
Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32 percent
Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30 percent
Candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
Candidate had poor communication skills: 27 percent
Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26 percent
Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 23 percent
Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22 percent
Candidate lied about an absence: 17 percent
Candidate posted too frequently: 17 percent
Seeing that list might be intimidating, but don’t let that convince you to archive your social media accounts during your job hunt. In fact, “fifty-seven percent of employers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job candidate online” and “25 percent expect candidates to have an online presence.”
So yeah, by all means, keep your social media accounts up. But if you’re still nervous about making a good impression on social media, here are some tips for how to use it to your advantage in the job search:
Use social media to your advantage
Be a good person
Of course you’ll always want to be yourself (after all, they may be checking your social media to get a glimpse of your personality). But while you’re out there being yourself, always remember to be professional (yes, you can do both). If you leave a comment, say something intelligent. If someone criticises you or something you love, take the high road. Your employer will expect you to be human, just try to be the best kind. That being said, don’t feel like you have to keep your profile on a “public” setting. Simply seeing that you’re active online might be enough for a potential employer to extend an interview and many understand the various reasons for wanting to keep a profile set to “private.”
Post about things that have to do with your career!
Sharing about things relevant to your work will not only show that you’re passionate about what you do (who wouldn’t want an employee like that?) but also that you’re hungry for knowledge and love to keep up with industry news and trends. Don’t only show off your own work, share things that interest you or are helpful to others within your industry as well!
Don’t be afraid to show off a little
Do you have your own blog or do you share in-depth projects that you’ve worked on? Those could also be a means of impressing your next employer. This could even give you the edge over others who are interviewing for the same position because your potential employer has already seen a project you’ve worked on before you even came in to interview.
Connect like you’re the social butterfly you wish you were
Afraid of networking events? So are a lot of people. Why not try connecting with influential people online first? Less scary, a lot easier. If your potential employer can see that you’re connected to influential people or a member of groups related to your industry, it can help to validate your credibility and experience.
Also read: How to Master the Art of Networking
But, is it legal?
Here is where it gets tricky. There’s nothing that says a potential employer can’t look you up on social media in their own time. What they can’t do is ask for your username and password, ask for unrestricted viewership of your profile, require you to add them as a friend, or ask you to promote their product or service.
However, even though it’s not illegal that a hiring manager checks out a candidate’s social media, there are reasons for why they might want to hold back. “The primary risk is uncovering information that an employer has no need to know, such as medical information or an employee’s (or applicant’s) inclusion in a protected class. Finding this type of info presents a risk because employer knowledge of such information can lead to claims of discrimination.”
For example, if a candidate announces her pregnancy on social media and a hiring manager chooses not to hire her, she could claim that the hiring manager is discriminating because he or she found out she was pregnant. The same goes in cases of religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. So in the case of social media, it may be in the company’s best interest to refrain or use a service that blocks out information that could lead to bias or discrimination.
What’s your opinion on employers checking your social media? Do you think it would help in your interview process or are you afraid it would hurt your chances of landing the job? Share your thoughts in the comments below and give this post a share on social media to impress your recruiter.