What Employers Are Looking For Online

All right college students – and high school students – if you haven’t done so already, it is high time you thought about how your digital footprint might impact your job search when the time comes.

Of course you know some of the basics. Every Instagram pic you post shouldn’t be you holding a beer can or a bong. Actually, none of them should include a bong. Good grammar and spelling are far better than your posts looking like a sloppy mess. Cyberbullying, racist and homophobic comments are a no no, even in jest.

With the help of a recent Workopolis survey of employers, we though we’d look a little deeper at where employers are looking online to check you out, what they’re looking for and why. The survey polled over 300 Canadian employers, with 63% of them reporting that they look candidates up online and on social media at some point during the hiring process. Where are they looking?interview

  • LinkedIn 91%
  • Facebook 75%
  • Twitter 28%
  • Instagram 16%
  • Tumblr 3%

According to Workopolis, Twitter was the fastest growing network over last year’s results. Jobs seekers should be aware of that, as well as the fact that Instagram and Tumblr are on the list. We see all too often that young people act as though their Twitter and Instagram accounts are private, even when they aren’t.

In terms of what employers are looking for, the answer pretty simply boils down to the fact that they want to get a better idea of who the candidate really is, i.e. what are the risks or positive side effects of having this candidate join our team. To wit:

“We here at Workopolis once declined to interview an applicant whose Facebook profile picture was of him holding a beer high over his head wearing only a baseball cap and a sock. (Not on his foot.) The thing is, I don’t really care if you want to get a little crazy and pull a Blink 182 in your backyard with your friends on the weekend. That’s not really any of my business…I do care that you don’t have the common sense not to put a photograph of it online and make it your public profile picture – especially while applying for jobs. If you display such poor judgment representing yourself, how much will you show when representing my brand?”

According to the survey, 48% of hiring managers had seen something online that made their opinion of a candidate more negative, while 38% had seen something online that swayed them in a more positive direction. That means that there is a 26% greater chance that your online profile does more harm than good. The odds may seem to be against you.

Does that mean that you should stay offline entirely, or be completely anonymous online? Not at all. Employers in the survey offered that they see it as a red flag if they can’t find any trace of a candidate online. Is she hiding something?

Even if your online profile is a terrible mess, it isn’t impossible to clean it up. After all, in an article in this week’s U.S. News and World Report titled College Seniors: Do these 11 things to graduate with a job, 3 of the 11 relate to your online profiles and image. This is the new normal.

You can clean up your act and put a more positive spin on things. If you need help, we can get you where you need to be.



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