NEWS + ADVICE
Getting Hired in an Age of Social Media: A Musical Revue
I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
Every day social media becomes more embedded into our daily lives. People share food, jokes, political views, memes; pretty much every moment of our lives are shared online. So, what does that mean when our social media life crosses into our professional life? How does it affect our ability to get a job?
You probably saw the article circulating about the Harvard kids who had their acceptance rescinded for things that they posted online and thought, “Time to delete my kid’s social media accounts.”
It’s true the internet never dies, but that doesn’t mean you should unplug and move off the grid nor does it mean you should have a fake persona online. Assuming common sense, I want to talk about a few things that Hiring Managers and Recruiters are looking at when they check out your social media accounts.
First Things First
The majority of employers are not out to get you and they are not trying to find reasons not to hire you. However, if they come across certain posts it may put a bad taste in their mouths.
Most of these things are common sense, but just in case, be sure to avoid posting:
- Inappropriate photos or videos
- Any reference to doing drugs
- Poor grammar or communication skills
- Discriminating against a certain race, religion, gender, etc.
- Speaking ill of a former employer or co-workers
Try to be a good human in life and it should roll over into your online persona. Don’t feel like you should be fake and spew rainbows. It’s okay to be your authentic self, but be yourself with common sense.
Born This Way
Most managers are looking for information to support your qualifications or a path to find out more about you and how you might round out their team. Remember, social media isn’t just Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. There are other sites that are more professional and those platforms are included when you see statistics about how often potential employers are reviewing your profiles.
Does your social media lead to a portfolio of your work? If not, should it? You can use your social media profiles to set yourself apart from other applicants by showing actual examples of work you have done and linking that to your social media.
Hiring Managers are looking to make sure you are who you say you are and that you meet the qualifications for the role. Make sure you’re consistent across the platforms you are sharing and that you don’t lie or embellish. Eventually the truth always comes out.
Getting To Know You
You can also use social media to show your personality and give employers a better look at you and what you might be looking for in a company. Hiring Managers may see you like a certain hobby or have a specific interest that meshes well with their team, and be more likely to consider you for an opening.
I once had a candidate that was obsessed with hockey. You could tell by looking at his social media profiles. He carried that over to LinkedIn and even his resume, by saying he was hoping to find co-workers that loved hockey and wanted to play street hockey at lunch in the parking lot.
I couldn’t offer him that environment, but I spoke to him a few months later and he had found co-workers that were just as obsessed with hockey. They even started a street hockey lunch gang after he onboarded. Now I don’t expect that to work for everyone, but if you don’t put it out there, you will never know.
Let’s Give Them Something To Talk About
Hiring Managers and employers are also looking to see what other people are saying about you. Your recommendations, comments, and interactions with others all give some insight into who you are as a person and how you communicate.
It’s okay to ask people on LinkedIn for recommendations, and make sure you reciprocate the favor. While recommendations may seem scripted and you have control over which ones are visible, it can still give employers insight into who you are. Common themes pop up in recommendations and can highlight your strengths.
If you are taking a second to audit and clean up your social media platforms, don’t forget to run a quick image search. Make sure there aren’t any photos that associate you with negativity. Images that come up in the search aren’t only you but also people you know, things you have shared, and anything else that is closely associated with your name. For example, an image search of my name brings up American Girl Doll Chrissa and her pet llama Starburst.
Hide and Seek
Being online might seem overwhelming and fill you with feelings of anxiety every time you post, but the answer is not to stay offline. In fact, most managers have said that they are less likely to interview job candidates if they can’t find them online. Being able to verify information on profiles and finding out a little more about a candidate gives managers a sense of ease when having to decide on a pool of candidates. Don’t run and hide, stay and flaunt.
We Go Together
Finding a job is a two-way street. Managers/Recruiters and candidates should work together to be transparent enough so each party knows what they are getting into. In this day and age of social media we are all stalking one another a little bit, so make sure the information people see highlights your best self.
Chrissa Dockendorf is a recruiting resource manager and employment branding specialist for G2, Inc., supporter of transitioning military, a coffee addict and BoyMom to 4. Follow Chrissa on Twitter @MissionHired.This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 2:22 pm