Imagine you’ve just applied for your dream job. You seemingly meet all the experience, skills, and education qualifications the employer is looking for and then some. As a result, there’s no doubt in your mind you’ll be considered for the role.
But before you get too confident, have you considered the potential impact of a social media screening by your prospective employer? Do hiring managers really look at your social media profiles?
After speaking with iHire Career Advisor, Lori Cole, we can say with certainty that they do.
In fact, a recent study revealed that 90% of employers factor a job candidate’s social media accounts into their hiring decisions, and 79% have rejected a candidate based on their social media content. This data proves that how you present your personal brand online can heavily influence the decision-makers in hiring.
But why do employers check social media?
"Contrary to popular belief, it’s not always to search for damaging information or a reason not to hire you,” Cole said. “Instead, most employers simply have their sights set on hiring someone who is the right fit for the company culture. As we know, social media is an excellent source for getting a glimpse into someone’s personality.”
What exactly are they looking for?
Hiring managers will screen an applicant’s social media account to get an overall sense of how you interact with others. They’re looking at any public posts or comments to get a glimpse into the tone you use, whether or not you use proper grammar, and how well you can spell. Companies want to see that you, as a potential employee, generally have a professional online persona and share only positive, appropriate, and insightful information.
“When an employer checks social media, they could also be looking for clues that might help support your qualifications,” Cole continued “These insights could be as simple as a picture of a construction project you completed with your current company, or a creative writing piece you’ve been working on in your spare time.”
Another positive sign that you’re a good fit is how connected you are – do you belong to any professional groups on LinkedIn or are you networking with other people in the industry? If you haven’t started to make connections yet, get started now.
All that said, it can be tempting to delete your profiles and ghost the internet altogether to avoid any risk. But by not having an online presence at all, you can potentially do more harm by sending the message that you may have something to hide.
Cole’s final advice is this: Before you hit “apply” next, conduct your own audit, and optimize your profiles. The chances are that social media checks will continue to be a large part of the applicant screening process. So don’t let your embarrassing profile picture be the reason you can’t land your dream job.