The role of sodial media in job search

When it comes to searching for a new job, social media can work both ways. We all know how sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can be great for networking, and we also know that employers use those same social networks to research candidates for their social media hiring.

One of my candidates just learned the hard way that you need to be very careful about what you post when it comes to social media hiring.

Soon after submitting his resume, I got a call from HR. They checked out his Facebook profile, and saw some things that raised eyebrows. What they found were postings and images that most people, I believe, would interpret as being highly controversial. My client certainly did, and they informed me that they would not be moving forward with this candidate, and actually cancelled a scheduled second round interview. Ouch. The employer lost a candidate who had all the skills and experience they were looking for, the candidate lost what was potentially a career-maker of an opportunity, and of course I was out the time I spent recruiting and qualifying this candidate.  A real lose-lose-lose if I ever saw one. Social media hiring gone very bad.

The legal questions surrounding this action are complex and I’ll leave that to the legal experts. But for the first time ever, I lost a candidate because of what an employer found on my candidate’s social media. Perhaps you’ve experienced or heard of a similar situation. Just how important social media hiring is becoming in the hiring decision? One client of mine, a pure play ecommerce business, recently shared their surprising formula: One-third skills and experience, one-third cultural fit, and one-third social media presence. That’s significant, especially when you consider that just a few short years ago the social media portion was little more than a small blip on most employer’s hiring radar screens.  Along with the candidate’s resume, this particular client said HR hands her a one page intelligence briefing detailing the candidate’s social media presence.

She shared with me what that report covered:

– How well the candidate presents themselves professionally
– How well the candidate would fit the company culture
– Attention to details, such as spelling errors.
– Potential “exclusionary factors” (inappropriate postings or images, bad mouthing previous employers, etc)

Someone once said there are only two times when someone is perfect:  When they are born, and during a job interview.
If you want to put yourself in the best possible light in the eyes of potential employers in their social media hiring, conduct a quick audit of your social media profiles. Better yet, have another set of eyes check it for you.