Social media is a key player in the job search process today.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allow employers to get a glimpse of who you are outside the confines of a résumé, cover letter, or interview—while they offer job seekers the opportunity to learn about companies they’re interested in; connect with current and former employees; and hear about job openings instantaneously, among other things.
It’s not enough to only post a profile and check your news feed. There are a lot of lurkers–people who have an online profile but don’t do anything or engage in any meaningful way.
This means the job seekers shouldn’t just focus on hiding or removing inappropriate content; they should work on building strong social networks and creating online profiles that do a really good job of representing their skills and experience in the workplace.
Job seekers need to give to the social networking communities, participate in group discussions, share expertise, point someone to an article. You must work it. While it can feel uncomfortable putting yourself out there, if you’re looking for a job, it’s not the time to be timid.
Just as Facebook and other social media sites can paint a professional picture, they can also paint a very crude or unflattering picture of an employee or job candidate.
“Facebook is a perfect example of where you should be careful,” Omotayo Martins, human resource assistant in an auditing firm noted. “Although it is viewed as more of a truly social network as compared to LinkedIn, employers are still checking you out, trying to develop a better picture of you as a candidate.”
Today, more than 90 percent of hiring managers are looking at social media profiles of potential employees, Mrs Grace said. According to her, here are some common red flags employers look for:
Provocative or inappropriate posts or photos; content about drinking or drugs; bad-mouthing a previous employer or coworkers; sharing confidential information about a previous employer; discriminatory comments about race, gender or religion; use of foul language.
Oloyede Seyi, a senior human resource consultant said, in an exclusive interview with Gbenga Odunsi noted that job seekers must understand how hiring managers and recruiters are using social media in all phases of the selection process.
“People need to be aware of the digital footprint that they leave behind and what message that portrays. You wouldn’t show interviewers pictures of debauched nights out at university, why would you leave that information open for them to find on the internet? If you create a positive online presence with a well-looked after Facebook page (perhaps with high privacy settings), a professional LinkedIn profile and an interesting Twitter account, you’re much more likely to be able to use social media to your advantage.”
Obimakinde, an HR specialist noted that when hiring managers sometimes browse through social media profiles of candidates, imagine what their impression of you will be when they see ‘job complaint posts’ on your wall. They are very likely going to be turned off and conclude that you are a potential danger to their brand (mainly because there is nothing to stop you from bad mouthing their firm too).
If you are applying for jobs and not getting anywhere, you may want to take a look at your social media channels to see if you are posting any of these mentioned items, it may be time to clean up your online presence.
Gbenga Odunsi currently edits AljazirahNigeria Newspapers. He can be reached on [email protected]