You had a blast last night partying with friends, maybe you had one too many. Photos were taken and you’re about to post that hilarious one of you after you fell face first into that girl’s décolletage (look it up if you don’t know what it means).
Before you hit the post button consider this: A new study finds that 60 percent of employers are using social networking sites to research job candidates. Ten years ago, just 11 percent of hiring managers said they were using social media to screen job candidates.
CareerBuilder’s annual social media recruitment survey of 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals suggests that employers, and potential employers, are using Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels to “get a glimpse of candidates” beyond just their cover letter.
For years now we have been warned to be careful about what we post to our social media pages. Young adults, in particular, are told not to post photos of themselves engaging in the kind of activities they wouldn’t want potential employers, or for that matter their parents, to see.
Surprisingly, the study found that most hiring managers are not intentionally looking for negatives – in fact six in ten are just looking for information to support a candidate’s qualifications for the job. However, 21 percent did admit they were looking for reasons not to hire someone.
But should you keep your profile private? Not necessarily. Two in five of those responding to the survey said they would be less likely to interview a job candidate if they couldn’t find information about them online – that’s up six percent since last year.
Would you friend someone who is looking to hire you? Fewer people are willing than in the past. In fact, 36 percent of employers who screen via social networks have requested to "be a friend" or follow candidates who have private accounts. And, of that group, 68 percent say they've been granted permission – down from 80 percent last year.
There’s little surprise as to what would turn off a hiring manager:
Those are the don’ts, but there’s opportunity as well. If potential employers are looking at you via your social media channels, why not use them to boost your hiring potential? Instead of posting yourself and your friends in a beer-infused stupor, why not post photos of you helping to build a house for Habitat for Humanity, or at the beach helping to clean up trash? While you shouldn’t stage photos, find something positive that you can post that will give potential employers an idea of what kinds of good things you are involved in. It can be something as simple as helping your kid brother or sister with their homework.
By the way, managers aren’t the only ones you need to be worried about. Forty-one percent of employers say they use social networking sites to research current employees. Nearly one-third (32 percent) use search engines to check up on current employees, and more than one in four (26 percent) have found content online that has caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.
Oh, and for goodness sake, if you’re looking to leave your job, don’t announce it on your social media channels. You just never know who might be looking.
Susan R. Miller is founder of Garton-Miller Media, a full-service, South Florida based public relations firm. Susan is a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience. She has two daughters, three golden retrievers and two cats, but just one guinea pig who is happy not to have to share his cage or his daily stash of veggies with anyone.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.