As early as 2009 reports showed that 45 percent of employers in some industries were already using Facebook to screen candidates. Since then this statistic has only increased, and now it is a common step in the recruitment process for many hiring managers.
What does this mean for you as a job seeker? Well, with many online platforms at your discretion you need to be conscious of your web presence and know when to use it to your advantage. Our key pieces of advice on the subject:
Don’t: Think your Facebook profile is not as important LinkedIn
A 2009 report cited that inappropriate photographs, content related to drug-use, criticism of previous employers, and general poor communication skills as significant reasons why candidates were screened out of contention for jobs. New technologies are a great medium for self-expression and connection. But at the very least—whether on Facebook, LinkedIn or somewhere else—make sure that what is publicly viewable represents your professional side.
Do: Turn on your social filter
An awareness of the instantaneous global reach of new technologies is especially important when it comes to applications like Twitter. The media is awash humiliated Twitter users who tweeted without proper forethought. We apply for jobs in a world where Tweets, emails, text messages, and forum posts can be forwarded or copied-and-pasted seconds after we share them. In such a world, a little common-sense goes a long way.
Don’t: Forget to be creative
Graphic designers were sending creative resumes that acted as snapshots of their portfolios long before YouTube popularized the video resume. Marketers, designers, social media managers, writers and public relations specialists are perhaps expected to have an online presence these days—but what about other professionals?
Should an ambitious payroll administrator create a video resume for the hiring committee of an exclusive professional services network? Perhaps if competition for the role is intense or if the company’s culture calls for a tactic such as this. If not, there are other subtle ways to make new technologies work for you. Does your dream company use Pinterest? Why not “Pin It” to your account? Similarly, you could ‘Like’ the company’s Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or comment (positively) on their YouTube videos. The idea is to preempt the hiring committee’s online search screening of you.
Do: Make new technology your digital advocate
The statistics prove it, employers are embracing the power of new technologies, which means that there is a good chance this power is being used to research you. Moreover if the screening process shows that you have taken a proactive interest in how your ‘dream company’ does business, you will be able leverage new technology in your favour. With just the right amount of prudence and forethought, Facebook, LinkedIn, and your general online presence will become a unique and highly effective boost to your chances of getting hired.