When you apply for a job, you usually submit a cover letter, resume, and possibly some samples of your previous work. But that’s not all recruiters are looking at when considering your application.
In this era of search engines, social media, and personal websites, your online persona will likely be reviewed carefully. In fact, a CareerArc survey indicated that 91% of employers use social media for recruiting, and 79% have rejected candidates based on their social networking profiles. Therefore, it makes sense to take the time and effort to ensure your virtual image is everything you want it to be.
What Are Employers Looking For?
According to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, recruiters engage in “social sleuthing” for a variety of reasons. First, they’re checking for the positives, such as:
- Engagement in local or national organization groups (60%)
- Examples of written or design work (58%)
- Mutual connections (36%)
But they’re also looking for negative implications in your social media presence, including:
- References to marijuana (58%)
- Political rants (47%)
- Spelling and grammar mistakes (43%)
- Pictures of alcohol consumption (42%)
Here’s what else recruiters could be learning about you online and what you can do to make sure you’re sharing the right message.
Evidence of Accomplishments and Expertise
In your resume and cover letter, you tout your experience, knowledge, and proven ability to complete tasks. Recruiters are going to look online for more evidence to back up those claims. If you have a personal website that includes a portfolio or blog, you should provide them with that information in a way that is easy to find and understand.
Your Personality, Interests, and Hobbies
Chances are good that recruiters will check out your profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites to see what kinds of things you post, what articles you like and share, and what causes or organizations you support. It’s great to show your personality through social media sites, and hopefully, you don’t have anything to hide (after all, you’re posting this information for all to see!).
But if recruiters find red flags (racist or sexist rants, mentions of illegal drug use, etc.), it could eliminate you from contention.
How You Refer to Former Employers
A hiring manager is likely to think twice if you’re trashing a former employer, colleagues, or boss online. After all, if they hire you and things don’t work, they may think that you’ll then do the same to them!
Along the same vein, if you have a Facebook post that reveals confidential information about your current or past employer, or if you use the web to air your company’s “dirty laundry,” a recruiter is likely to notice. It should be obvious, but if you receive information in confidence, keep it private. If your online actions show you aren’t trustworthy, it will definitely be concerning to potential employers.
Discrepancies in Your Employment History
If information you share online doesn’t match what you’ve submitted in your resume, you could run into problems. This is especially relevant when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. If your job titles, dates of employment, or other information on your profile don’t match your resume, a recruiter might think you’re not being truthful. Make sure you’re consistent and honest at all times.
Signs You’ll Be a Good Culture Fit
Culture is more than just a corporate buzzword. Companies invest thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in creating corporate cultures that are attractive to job candidates and appealing to clients or customers. What you share online will give recruiters clues regarding the kind of culture that will work well for you, so be sure your posts and website portray an image that is true to who you are.
What Other People Say About You
In addition to the language and information you share, hiring managers also may examine how friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances respond to your online presence. Do they respect you? Do they mention that you’re a hard worker? You can’t control what others say, but you should be aware that their responses may be viewed by someone who could have an impact on your future employment.
How to Keep Your Profiles Employer-Friendly
Be Up to Date
According to Jobvite, 77% of recruiters use LinkedIn, 63% use Facebook, and 25% use Instagram for recruiting. So, if you’ve barely updated your social media profiles as of late, it’s time to dig back in! Even though it may seem like extra work, it’s important to keep your profiles up to date at all times.
Be Professional and Personable
While it’s ideal to present yourself in the best light possible online, that doesn’t mean that you should strip away all aspects of your personality, either. Job recruiters are looking online to find out who you are beyond a business suit and a smile, so be sure to give them glimpses into your personality. Simply be aware of anything that could come across as controversial, but still be true to who you are.
Using Your Online Presence to Your Advantage
Since recruiters are increasingly using online channels to screen candidates, it’s crucial that your job search meets them where they’re at by having an up-to-date, professional (and yes, personal) presence to show them that you’re the right candidate for the job.
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