What Employers Are Looking For When They Screen Your Social Networks

May 21, 2012

It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers are going to sneak a peek at your social networks during the application process. But do you know what they’re actually sifting through your profiles to find? In a recent Reppler survey, we asked hiring managers if they have ever hired a candidate as a result of their social networking site content, and, if so, what specific factors influenced their decisions.

These were the Top 5 “it” factors they reported:

  1. The candidate gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit.
  2. The profile supported their professional qualifications.
  3. The profile showed that the candidate was creative.
  4. The candidate demonstrated solid communication skills.
  5. The profile showed that the candidate was well-rounded.

On the flip-side, we also wanted to know how hiring managers responded to any questionable social media content. Jennifer King, HR analyst at Software Advice, interviewed several recruiters and hiring managers to shed some light on this subject.*

There’s good news in that, while some recruiters outright reject candidates based on their social network content, others prefer to give the candidate a chance for redemption. That being said, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a chance to explain any or every raging weekend party picture. To be safe, we always recommend implementing the “grandma test” to keep profiles in check. If grandma wouldn’t be ok with it, don’t share it! Even if your privacy settings are set to “Friends only”, you never know who might gain access to your profile, or what your connections will share. Nothing that you put online is private!

Amy Henderson, account executive with Technisource, and one of King’s interviewees, offers this conclusion, “Perception is reality in the business world. The way people perceive you online, through social media–that’s what they use to make first impressions. And those first impressions are lasting impressions.”

*For more insights, check out the full article by Jennifer King.

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Graduation Time: Get Your Social Networks Job Search Ready

May 8, 2012

Happy graduation month! While there is much to celebrate, most of you are aware that the “next step” clock is ticking away. What lies ahead? What happens now?

According to a recent Associated Press article, 1 in 2 new college graduates are jobless or underemployed. And job opportunities in popular fields, including education, healthcare, fine arts and humanities are in limited supply. The highly competitive job market forces all job seekers, especially recent grads, to step up their game, and social media provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

In Reppler’s recent survey, 91% of employers said they use social networks to screen applicants. Social networks can go beyond the scope of resumes and cover letters, granting employers insights into your personality and character. These insights can help assess your compatibility with both the position and a company’s overall culture. Take advantage! Your personality, achievements and interests need to convince employers that you’re a great fit–and a wise investment.

Unfortunately, for all the benefits social media provides, you can’t ignore its dark side. Everything written or published on the web stays. According to a recent Careerbuilder survey, 34% of hiring managers find negative and inappropriate material on social networks that causes them to eliminate candidates. This material includes, but is not limited to (Hint: This is what you want to avoid!):
·         References to alcohol and drug abuse
·         Sexually explicit photos
·         Derogatory language
·         Bad-mouthing former employers/co-workers

To show our support for new graduates (and, of course, anyone else in search of a job), we’re going to be providing a series of posts around job searching with social media throughout May. Stay tuned to find out what potential employers want to see on social networks, what pitfalls to avoid and which networks to leverage in your job search.