Is your Personal Brand on Social Media Networking Sites Costing You?

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Current research suggests that you can have the perfect resume and still not get the position that you interview for. In fact, 80% of employers are looking for a cultural fit over executive skills.

It has been said that interviews boil down to three things:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you do the job with passion?
  3. Do we want you around?

The third question can be restated as “Do you fit in with our company culture?” Going back to our blog post of November 13, 2015, a prospective employer wants to know if you are professional, high-energy, confident, are able to self-monitor, and if you have intellectual curiosity.

One of the ways a prospective employer begins to build an idea of who you are is by looking at your social media presence. In fact, reviewing a candidate’s social media persona is becoming standard. According to a Harris Poll released in 2015, 52% of employers use social networking sites to research candidates. That figure is up from 43% last year in 2014 and 39% in 2013. In addition, not being on social media is not necessarily helpful: 35% of employers said they were less likely to interview job candidates who didn’t have a digital footprint.

The survey of nearly 2,200 hiring and human resource managers, which was done for CareerBuilder, the global human resource and recruitment company based in Chicago, found that 51% of hiring managers use search engines to research candidates. This is what they are looking for:

  • 60% are looking for information that supports the candidate’s qualifications for the job
  • 56% want to see if the candidate has a professional online persona
  • 37% want to see what other people are posting about the candidate
  • 21% admit they’re looking for reasons not to hire the candidate

In a competitive job market, recruiters are going to use all of the information that they can find to help them to make the right hiring decisions. As a potential candidate, you should view this as a wake-up call, as well as an opportunity to use your social media presence to your advantage.

The first order of business is to make your online presence professional. Go through your social media accounts and take steps to make sure that any posts that may discourage a potential employee from hiring you are either removed or made private. Make sure that your posts are free of typos and that any photos of you show you in a positive way. Share content that highlights your qualifications and accomplishments. Make sure that this information is consistent across the different platforms that you are on (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.).

Another thing to do is to Google your own name to see what else is out there on you.

While not being careful with your social media persona can cost you an employment opportunity, being careful and using it to your benefit can land you that opportunity. The CareerBuilder survey revealed that 29% of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to offer the candidate a job.

In some cases, the employer got a good feel for the candidate’s personality and saw it as a company culture fit. Other times, recruiters chose to hire because the profile communicated a professional image. In some instances, it was because background information supported professional qualifications. Another positive was when other people posted great references about the candidate or because the profile showed that the job seeker is a creative, well-rounded, person with great communication skills.

A thoughtful approach to your social media presence may be just the thing that sets you apart from other candidates and lands you the opportunity!


Sam Robinson

About the Author:

Sam Robinson is the Founder and President of Robinson-Robinson & Associates, Inc., as well as a Principal Consultant. Sam has executive level Human Resources experience in the computer manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries. He served in various functional roles including Staffing, Employee Relations, Compensation Administration, Organizational Development and Training, and Diversity. Sam is a varsity athletic graduate of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. He continues to be a sports enthusiast and is an avid golfer.