Social media is a prevalent aspect of social life. With its pervasive presence in daily life, social media has become part of professionalism, too.
According to Jan Moppert, director of the Office of Professional and Career Development, between 70 and 94 percent of recruiters use social media to research job candidates on a regular basis. These recruiters are searching social media for both the good and the bad.
“Their No. 1 place that they go for recruiting is LinkedIn,” Moppert said. “Because of the growth of Millennials in the workforce and now the [Generation Zers] coming in, even though LinkedIn is a very respected great place to go for business, the Millennial, doing what Millennials do, which is doing things their own way.”
This has pushed recruiters to branch out from LinkedIn, searching for candidates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Social media profiles can have a positive or negative impact on a candidate. According to a Harris Poll for CareerBuilder, 47 percent of employers are less likely to contact candidates who do not have a social media presence.
“It actually works against you,” Moppert said. “The No. 1 thing they’re looking for are the things you’re putting out on social media supporting the qualifications you claim you have. So are you walking out what you say you are?”
Social media content shows employers who an applicant is and how they work in the world. Employers will weigh and compare an applicant’s social media profile to their resume.
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“So they’re wanting to see that verification, and I think that a lot of that is we’ve become such a litigious environment that fewer and fewer employers are giving recommendations anymore,” Moppert said. “They’re afraid to give anything more than when you worked, what your job title was and maybe, just maybe, would I hire you again?”
Recruiters are responding to this reference challenge with new ways to evaluate potential candidates.
The answer to this, according to Moppert, is to create and maintain a good brand on social media.
Elements like clean, clear communication and creative content can provide support, while things like typos and unprofessional behavior can turn an employer off from a candidate.
If this kind of content is on a profile, Moppert urges the job seeker to delete it now.
“Clean it up,” Moppert said. “Google yourself and see what comes up.”
Moppert said when she googled herself she found stuff from the 1990s.
“There are three recipes that I put out on prodigy.net, which is one of the first social networking sites,” Moppert said. “So, delete it.”
If there is something that cannot be cleaned up, candidates should be prepared to address the event in an interview.
Moppert said to consider getting ahead of the story and bringing it up in the interview and emphasizing what was learned from the situation and why it will not happen again.
“The other good news is that you’re supposed to grow up, and you’re supposed to be human,” Moppert said. “I think as long as you can talk to the ‘what I have learned from this’ and ‘why I’m never going back there,’ that may help you out a lot if you can talk about it that way.”
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