I think it’s fair to say that social media has a huge impact on every element of our lives and as such it’s important that we safeguard ourselves from the negative influences it can play in shaping our future.
Social is key to the way in which the recruitment market is developing. Long gone are the outdated practices associated with simply having a huge, unmanaged database of candidates and an advertising budget that surpasses the competition. Hence a more agile and connected recruitment space is opening up. It’s easy to suggest we need to protect our information from nefarious characters but this goes more deeply than ensuring you don’t leave critical information open for the world to see and share.
When a company – regardless of whether or not they are a direct hirer or a representing consultancy – reviews you as a potential employee, you now are more likely to get screened not only on the basis of a CV but on the overall information a company can glean from the public domain.
The first stop is typically LinkedIn. A professional platform that will show if you can separate your business life from your personal. So many people now blur the lines and post non career or business related information on this site giving a confused picture about what you want from your career. School boy errors can be seen on a daily basis where people have set up a profile only to forget about it and then subsequently miss information off their CV or simply lie about where they were working and when. The fact that someone has set up a profile and then not updated it shows how seriously they are about promoting their skills and career. Also be careful of what you comment on….everything you say in a social conversation says something about you and your focus. It’s difficult saying to an employer in an interview that your strongest skills are your ability to focus when you are commenting on other people’s posts throughout a working day on things not related to what you do.
Right or wrong it’s likely that your name will be run through a search agent to see if there are any glaring issues. On one such occasion we found an article in on a candidate who had been banned for driving for drink driving which explained a number of sudden departures from roles which he had lied about in his pre-screening interview. It’s important you know what an employer can find out about so you can explain the detail and present yourself, warts and all, in the best light.
Most seasoned recruiters will move past the ‘interests’ section on a candidate’s CV in favour of searching through Facebook or Twitter. We have personal experience of cancelling an interview due to questionable and poor language skills on someone’s twitter feed. Having a fully lived social life is no issue but pictures of you being carried out of a club at 4am every other night of week does leave a question of wether you’ll be able to make it to work every day. Posts about breaking the law, taking drugs, comments about previous employers, general discriminatory or poor use of language have all been used to reject applications.
When approaching your career search it’s always useful to tie in all your published and social information. It’s pointless telling a prospective employer you’ve just been made redundant as part of a large cutting campaign when your previous employer is actually advertising your old role. The best advice is to research yourself….plan your interview and then make sure your social footprint supports your pitch. You can then draw an interviewers attention to this if they haven’t already researched you and can form part of your overall reference.