Social media has changed a lot of things, and the amount of knowledge available to strangers about a given person is certainly one of them. This is definitely something people are using to do much more than check up on who their ex is dating – a recent survey found that 60% of employers research their job candidates on social media as part of the interview process.
Better Than References
While the fact that employers are becoming increasingly more likely to check out potential hires on social media may sound a bit disconcerting for jobseekers, it is actually a good thing in many ways. As employers feel they have more ways to find out what someone is really like and check that the information on their CV is true, they are becoming less reliant on references.
It is estimated that in modern hiring, as many as 70% of bosses don’t check references, instead preferring to trust their own judgment when hiring. References themselves had become a bit of a bugbear for jobseekers anyway, given that often, previous employers will now only give references from their human resources departments – often people who didn’t work closely with the person in question and can only really verify that they did, in fact, work there, and had no disciplinary issues. This doesn’t tell the employer much, and doesn’t help the candidate highlight what they actually brought to previous roles. It became pretty much a formality that clearly many employers decided wasn’t worth the effort, especially now that a quick internet search can tell them far more.
How Candidates Can Use This to Their Advantage
If candidates assume that they will be researched prior to an interview, then they can use this to their advantage. LinkedIn is one of the first places employers tend to look, given it is professionally focused and feels a lot less intrusive than looking at someone’s Facebook or Twitter. Making sure to keep a LinkedIn profile up to date and get good endorsements on it for skills is a good way a candidate can look as appealing as possible to anyone researching them.
Candidates can also, of course, turn the tables and use social media to research their interviewer ahead of time. Interviewers tend to like it when someone has researched their company, and going deeper than spending five minutes on the corporate website can give a candidate plenty of impressive knowledge. Pull it off, and a candidate can sound like they are already part of the business’ culture.
Recruiters too can use social media to find out more about both clients and candidates and to point promising candidates in the right direction for their own research. The only thing to really think about is that candidates should remove anything that might be seen in a negative light (such as overly personal ‘drama’, anything very controversial, or anything complaining about work) from any social media profiles that can be searched by the general public before starting to apply for jobs.
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