If you’re job hunting, think twice before posting all those party pictures from the weekend and definitely don’t engage in a Twitter war with a troll. The number of employers using social media to check out job applicants is at an all-time high, according to a recent study. 70 percent of employers are using social media to screen candidates, that’s up from just 11 percent in 2006.
Last month we outlined ways to clean up and enhance your social media presence. This month, we asked HR managers and recruiters if and how they use social media to research potential candidates and found a wide range of answers.
The answers varied based on industry. The bottom line: you should have a social presence that best shows off your talents, interests, and personality but make sure anything you don’t want potential employers to see is marked private.
"We do use Facebook. Actually, a lot of the applicants are friends of people here and a lot of our referrals come in through friends of people at Facebook. That’s really important. Basically, for us – we use Facebook as employees and then a lot of us refer friends because we are excited about the skills they have. Overall, it’s an important part of how we work, and so having someone who at least understands how Facebook works and uses the product from a general level is important. But we don’t require that you are on Facebook." -Deborah Liu, VP Platform and Marketplace, Facebook
"At Dosh, we’re always looking for exceptional employees and an amazing website or cool social media profile can be a great way to show off your technical or design skills. However, we won’t go out and search for those profiles but will review if sent on an application. We find a bit of personality is a central part of being a good culture fit for Dosh. If you are sharing why you’re such an interesting person on social media, then share it with us too!" -Dosh HR Team
"I have gone through the hiring process with dozens of employees and I’ve always checked social media, in part because it makes sense for our line of work. If candidates wish to work in the tech industry they should be comfortable and familiar with representing themselves on different websites and on their social media. If I’m interviewing a candidate who is going to design websites, I want to be able to see the websites he’s designed himself. If I’m interviewing a candidate who will run social media campaigns, I want to see how he engages with audiences on his personal platforms. If they don’t have their own website or if they aren’t active on social media, it’s harder for me to see what kind of person they are and make a good decision about who to hire.
Your social media presence will rarely be the ultimate deciding factor. But it will be a factor, one more thing tipping the scales in one direction or another as we have to choose between multiple qualified candidates." -Colin Callis, Communications Specialist, Dish Network
"We are proactive about reaching out to candidates on LinkedIn. However, we do not research applicants’ social media profiles. Our decision-making process is only based on what we learn during the interview process. Checking social profiles can solicit assumptions and allow biases to become part of the process, which we avoid at all costs. We do not encourage anyone to use the data they find on social media as part of the evaluation in making a hiring decision." -Rhonda Michalec, VP Technical Recruiting at Salesforce
"We do screen applicants on Social Media. A great resumé doesn't guarantee that an applicant is the right choice. We look for profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Applicants that like to post party pictures, pose with bottles or half naked will be rejected, even when they have an outstanding resumé." -Cathy Ramos, HR Manager Excellence Health Inc.