66% of U.S. adults are using social media. Obviously, a digital force with this much reach is going to have a pretty enormous impact on the national culture. While it’s impossible to deny social media’s effect on interpersonal interactions as you watch your friends check their Instagram feeds mid-conversation, many still question just how big of a role social media plays in the hiring process. As a firm that specializes in identifying, qualifying, and delivering top talent, we know what it takes to find the right candidate for the right job. That being said, over 20 years of experience in the field has taught us that cultural fit is right up there in order of importance with skill set and qualifications. So how do you find out if a candidate will fit within the employer’s company culture? You get to know them, of course. How can you quickly and easily get to know a person in today’s tech savvy world? Social media!
Why Social Matters Matter
Social media does play a significant role in determining your potential employment with a company. Recruiters, employment managers, and HR professionals alike are all using it as a means of getting to know you during the qualification process. It’s our way of identifying the key values and personality traits that may or may not make you a good fit for the job – negative indicators having the most significant impact here. “You can’t win a job by what you have on social media, but you can most certainly be disqualified for it.” – Taylor Cotterell, Vice President at NaviTrust.
What we look for
Ok, now that you know we’re looking at Social Media, you probably want to know what we’re looking for, right? While this may vary in specifics based on the company/culture you’re applying for a position within, here are a few biggies to note:
- Negative comments
No one likes an internet troll, so this is pretty simple. Don’t be one! Your negative online comments will most certainly be a red flag to potential employers. They not only show them that you’re willing to broadcast negative feelings to an audience that may not necessarily agree, but they also portray a bit of a “hot head” attitude. The best rule of thumb here? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. This is a look at how frequently adult social media users post negative comments. Where do you fit in?
- Poor Spelling and Grammar
If you’re not careful to check the messages you send out to the public, how can a potential employer be sure that you’ll make an effort to tactfully communicate with clients, coworkers, and superiors? Proofreading all content before it lands on your profile is key. Checking all bios, descriptions, posts, etc. for proper spelling and grammar before publication will help you build a more successful social presence. How often people try to focus on grammar/spelling.
- Questionable Content
We know that social media should be a place for you to express yourself as an individual. That being said, it’s also important to note that you’re sending your content out to an audience of anyone and everyone…including your coworkers and superiors. Would you strike up a water cooler conversation with coworkers about a highly controversial and/or work-inappropriate topic? Probably not, but sharing content related to these topics on social media tells employers that there’s a chance you would. Just don’t do it. Your followers/friends will thank you for holding back anyway!
Those are the three red flags that should never show up on your social pages, but there are also other details you can correct for safe measure. A couple of these include keeping your content fresh and matching your social media history with the history reflected on your resume.
- Fresh Content
As mentioned earlier, no amount of “good” content on your social profiles will get you the job. However, adding quick snippets from your portfolio and/or posting a few family-friendly pics with positive captions here and there will highlight your best qualities.
- Social Profile Match
Our firm doesn’t put too much emphasis on aligning a candidate’s social history with their resume history as this is subject to change/relevance, however, keeping your profile up-to-date in this area doesn’t hurt either.
The Best Bet in Avoiding Self-Sabotage
Keep it clean, convey intelligence, and stay positive. Your future (employed) self will thank you on this one! Not sure if a post is appropriate? Don’t post it! If you do determine that your content is appropriate to share with everyone you know on social media, go ahead and put it up. Just be sure to carefully craft your caption with a positive tone and proper grammar and spelling. Ultimately, this is your place to have fun and interact with friends and family. It shouldn’t jeopardize your future career if you focus on highlighting your best attributes and keeping personal topics to yourself as you would in the workplace. Good luck!
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