What Employers Want To See on Your Social Media

According to a new article at Workopolis, a Canadian online job site, 93% of employers admit to looking up candidates’ social media profiles during the interview process.

Notice that they don’t specify which employees, i.e. not just senior executives. Any employee, including kids right out of high school or college, can expect their public social media profiles and online activities to be scrutinized. The Workopolis article focuses on the positives – what qualities gleaned from social media would make a candidate look like a good hire. The top 3 things according to the article and a related survey:

interviewCultural Fit – 51% of companies want to see whether the “real you” is a good fit with their corporate values and culture.

Qualifications – Are the skills and accomplishments noted in your resume, cover letter and application consistent with how you look online, or are their contradictions? 45% of employers are checking. It is easy to say that you’re a team player, but if your Facebook wall is a long string of arguments, you might be shooting yourself in the foot.

Creativity – 44% of hiring managers are looking for signs of creativity. You don’t have to be an artist online, but learning to creatively use social media could mean that you’ll adapt well to a diverse set of responsibilities in a company environment.

After having hired our share of people, and viewing countless teen and young adult social media profiles, there are a couple more things that come to our minds:

Attention to detail – If the job you’re applying for involves detailed work, or communication with clients or the public, your social media will be a positive reflection on you if your posts are thoughtful, coherent and relatively free of typos and spelling errors.

Discretion – Most companies are looking for employees who put their company’s interest pretty high on their list of concerns. If your social media shows you talking badly about others, or even past employers, you might not look like the good foot soldier that company is looking for.

Philanthropy/generosity – Putting others ahead of yourself can set you apart. All other things being equal, most hiring managers would prefer to hire a “good” person.

According to the Workopolis article, the most common sites searched by employers are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. No doubt that is true for now. Candidates should assume that as employers and HR departments get more social media savvy, those searches will extend to Instagram and Tumblr, and eventually to Reddit, Ask.fm and beyond. If you look like an angel on Facebook, but someone else entirely on Instagram, keep in mind that they are all fair game if they’re public.

We’ve focused here on the positives, but there are many negative things that you shouldn’t post online. The bottom line is that if you’re putting yourself out there publicly, it should be a public image that a company would be proud to embrace in a team member.


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