Are you looking for a job? You might want to think about cleaning up your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ profiles. In a recent CareerBuilder survey, 37 percent of employers investigate job candidates’ social media profiles.
Ten years ago … even five years ago … this wasn’t much of an issue. In 2007, Facebook was only a 3-year-old and Twitter was just learning to walk. Employers weren’t yet too concerned with someone’s social media presence, but that’s changed in the last few years. More than ever, the way someone behaves in social media can impact his or her chances of obtaining a job. And whether one’s conduct in social media should actually have a bearing on the ability to perform his or her job or not, it cannot be debated that employers are definitely snooping.
But what are they looking for exactly?
According to the survey, 65 percent of employers are looking as to whether or not a candidate presents him or herself professionally online. Other reasons for investigating prospective employees’ social profiles include: Wanting to see if they will fit in with the company’s culture (51 percent), wanting to learn more about their qualifications (51 percent), to learn if they are a well-rounded individual (35 percent) and only 12 percent look for reasons not to hire someone. It’s comforting to see that, for the most part, employers are looking at social media profiles without malicious intent. We’ve seen too many cases of employers walking the ethical line when it comes to their potential employees’ social media profiles. As Forbes states, companies that are asking for your Facebook password aren’t making any friends.
Even though employers are mostly checking out social media profiles with the best intentions, it can backfire, which is why it’s still vital that (at least while looking for a job) you maintain a relatively professional persona on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t be an automaton, but don’t post public pictures of you doing a keg stand. That law office you just applied to might not take you seriously. When asked why an employer didn’t hire someone, 49% percent said it was because the candidate posted inappropriate pictures to their Facebook. The next reason, 45 percent, was because the candidate openly posted about drinking or drug-use. That’s why you should be wary of what you post and what others post to your profiles.
Your communications skills are just as important as the pictures you post, however. Thirty-five percent of the employers that were asked said they didn’t hire someone because they didn’t exhibit proper communication skills. It cannot be stated enough: Whether you’re composing a tweet, Facebook status or cover letter, always write with precision. People will notice … more than you think.
What are your thoughts on employers investigating job candidates’ social media profiles? Should Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles be subject to scrutiny or are they part of a candidate’s personal life that shouldn’t affect their chances at getting hired?