Career advice

Could social media stop you getting a job?

As a nation, we’re increasingly living out our lives online. Through the power of social networks, we can now keep in constant contact with friends and family, post photos, maintain business connections or even give a minute-by-minute account of our daily life (all in 140 characters or less).
With an abundance of advice out there on privacy and security, many people have adopted a cautious, considered approach to their social networking – and indeed, to their online presence as a whole. However, many people are extremely lax about the information they post online. When it comes to finding a new job, your online presence may be of more significance than you think.

Employers and the web

With the popularity of online CV searches, digital portfolios and online job boards – the recruitment process has increasingly shifted into the online realm. With many employers now turning to the likes of LinkedIn to seek out potential hires, check out recommendations or make new connections - employers are very well acquainted with the web’s potential in recruitment.
With that in mind, it’s very possible that a potential employer will turn to the internet to research a candidate of interest. In this instance, you have limited control over what is unearthed from a quick Google search for your name.

Alarm bells...

For most employers, your skills and experience will of course be very important in assessing your suitability for a role. However, your technical ability may not be the only thing under scrutiny. Finding a candidate with the right attitude and personality who is a good match with the company’s values is absolutely paramount.
No matter how strong the CV, if an employer finds your online presence inappropriate/offensive – you could be jeopardising your chances of landing the role or even getting an interview. If there are several good quality candidates all vying for the same position, an employer will be actively seeking ways to filter down their selection.
Of course, your social media usage in your own time is up to you. It is your freedom of speech and personal choice – but it’s still wise to keep a few golden rules of thumb in mind while doing so. This is particularly relevant if you’re embarking on a job search.

Tips for a good online presence

  • With private/social profiles, it’s wise to activate your full security settings to ensure that only personal acquaintances can access your information.
  • Make sure that your professional networks, such as LinkedIn, are reserved for career-related posting. As this is a professional networking tool, it’s best to keep your personal, more casual updates, tweets and comments separate.
  • Be selective with the photos you choose to post online and monitor the ones that others post of you. Although it may seem unfair for an employer to judge you on a photo, the images that pop up online could have an impact on their perception of you.
  • Avoid bad-mouthing fellow colleagues, your boss or the company you currently work for on social networking sites. You can never be completely sure of who will access this information and their subsequent affiliations. An employer would no doubt be very wary of someone who aired their work frustrations so publically.
  • Avoid foul language, lewd remarks or insults in a public online domain.
  • Be cautious of who you accept as a friend/follower/contact.
This is not to suggest that you’re overly fearful of social media or that you should feel inhibited – it’s just advisable to be aware of your online image. Equally, employers need to take a balanced, sensible and respectful approach to researching candidates online, as these networks are after all, by their very definition – social.
Once your online presence is in ship shape, search Michael Page jobs and apply for positions today.