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What Hiring Managers Want From Your Social Media Accounts

Posted by Rob Riggins

Is social media helping or hurting job seekers?

The results of a just released CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers who research candidates via social media illustrate it all depends on the job seeker.

Self-Defeating Content

The top mentions for self-defeating content range from flat out bad behavior to the issue of contradictory information. Most of the cleared community is smart enough not to make the first couple mistakes listed below. But pay close attention to some of the less-referenced problems that took a job seeker out of the running for a job:

Sexiness – 50%. Posting photos or information that are provocative or inappropriate.

Booziness – 48%. Sharing info about drinking or drug use.

Dissing an employer – 33%. Now we’re getting into territory that may be relevant to you. Have you ever complained about an employer in a LinkedIn group? Delete it.

Pore communication skills – 30%. Spelling and grammar still matter, particularly in the security-cleared community.

Hater comments – 28%. Comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.

Misstating your qualifications – 24%. Make sure the information you provide on LinkedIn doesn’t contradict your resume.

Helpful Content

There are good things to be found on social media about professional, qualified cleared job seekers. The top mentions for information that made a job seeker more attractive or that tipped the scales so a job offer was extended include:

Professional – 57%. Job seeker presents a professional image online.

Personality – 50%. This is sounding like a beauty pageant. The hiring manager got a good feel for the job seeker’s personality.

Well-rounded – 50%. Again sounding like a beauty pageant. The job seeker was well-rounded with a wide range of interests.

Truthfulness – 49%. Background info supported professional qualifications. Don’t put doubt in a recruiter’s mind by being lazy with dates and other info.

Creativity – 46%.

Great communication skills – 43%. It’s evident from the job seeker’s information and postings that they communicate well.

Great references – 38%. Others posted rave reviews about the job seeker’s abilities.

Are You Offended That You’re Being Judged

If you’re a job seeker who is offended by recruiters or hiring managers making judgments based on seemingly superfluous information, sorry that’s the reality of the world we live in.

Just as someone makes subconscious snap judgments about you based on your appearance in the opening seconds of an interview, they are doing the same thing with your online information.

The bottom line is the odds favor job seekers who present a professional image online.

What hiring managers are looking for

The research suggests that social media is used to get a feel for what the candidate’s behavior is outside the artificial world of the interview. And it appears that what they’re trying to grasp is the job seeker’s professional presentation and fit with the company culture.

To make sure your social media profiles send the right message, Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder suggests:

Search Yourself – The easiest way for employers to research your online personality is a simple search on Google and other sites. Try it out for yourself so you know exactly what they’ll see and remove any digital dirt you wouldn’t want a potential boss to encounter.

Read Your Privacy Settings – Social media sites change their privacy settings often, and occasionally this leads to a change in your personal settings. It’s good practice to check in on the privacy settings for all of your accounts regularly.

Showcase Your Talent – This is your opportunity to provide evidence that you are as exceptional as your resume says by posting awards and accolades you’ve received, volunteer activities, accomplishments you’re excited about, etc. Employers often search social media to learn more about your qualifications or to see that you are well-rounded, so be sure to put that information front and center.

Keep Tabs – Just because you’re being careful with what you put online doesn’t mean your friends are necessarily so cautious. Pay attention to what others are posting on your profile and what you’re tagged in to protect your online image.

The nationwide survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder from February 11 to March 6, 2013, included more than 2,100 hiring managers and human resource professionals.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 01, 2013 8:45 am

3 thoughts on “What Hiring Managers Want From Your Social Media Accounts”

  1. Does anyone else worry about the potential danger of “professional” social media activities to national and personal security? I don’t want the world to know what I do for a living. My wife, kids, friends and world are completely in the dark about what I do for a living, why increase my exposure beyond ClearedJobs and USAJobs.com? I hope, applying for work in my field is a point-to-point activity. My experience has been the initial flurry of paperwork, culminating with a face-to-face, behind closed doors. Yes, I sound like an elderly Cold Warrior, but America’s current computer-savvy enemies don’t give me any reasons to drop my guard. I travel and may retire OCONUS some day. I want everyone else on the beach to know me as that retired gringo economist.

    With unclassified social media, I feel like I am being coerced into doing something, which could be personally dangerous down the line. Also I feel pushed to undo 27 years of sensible security training. Am I the only one who has these concerns?

  2. You do bring up very good points and yes you have to be very careful. Having said that, senior level execs at 3-letter agencies are on LinkedIn and Twitter. Their titles are things such as “Senior Government Professional”. You can be very generic and restricted with the information you share, yet still use these social media tools to your advantage if you choose to. For example to follow companies or agencies you want to work for and their recruiters.

    There is no right answer for everyone. It’s an individual choice and certainly if you’re not comfortable you don’t have to use them. Thanks for your input.

  3. Rourke,

    See, while you do bring up some very valid concerns, this is the problem with people who are unaware or lack education in the social media interface. The platforms have become such a valued resource for accessible information, that we must be vigilant in the information we divulge through the system. Remaining ignorant of the interface does not make you safer, in fact, it could result in harming you more than you realize. As organizations become increasingly savvy where technology is concerned, while also understanding that there is a World of technically savvy people out there ready to steal information at any cost, they understand the need to have savvy people within their confines. Therefore, the online resources we as consumers use, are vital far beyond the chattiness of sites like Facebook and others. Social Media is not going anywhere, in fact, it’s becoming more sophisticated every day.

    Remember to keep an open mind.

    Thanks for both inputs 🙂

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