Social Media, a Candidate’s Threat and Opportunity

With the creation of social media, our personal information is now easily searchable by employers. In fact, a majority of employers utilize social media to influence their hiring decisions. Many of these companies find information on social media sites which disparages the candidates. However, companies report that information on social media can boost a candidate’s likelihood of employment. In order to survive in the new easy information world, a candidate must use social media and use it wisely.

Since these social media outlets are almost all public, they pose as a threat and an opportunity for a potential new hire.  A survey of over 400 employers illuminated these facts: 62% of those companies researched facebook for potential candidates, 45% looked at twitter, and 44% looked at Linkedin. These companies are utilizing social media to research their candidates because  of its extreme low cost and high payoff.

These companies are not only looking at the social information of the candidates, but they are also taking action. As a threat to new hires, 42% of those companies that do search social media found content which caused them to reject a candidate. The survey said  that the most common reasons for eliminating a candidate include posting information about drinking or using drugs (33%), as well as posting inappropriate photographs or information(28%).

However, social media also serves as an opportunity for candidates.  45% of those companies searching said that they found content which led them to hire a candidate. Reasons for hiring include a candidate’s background information supporting their professional qualifications (38%) and believing that the candidate’s personality would be a good fit with the company (27%).

With the downside threat in mind, a candidate may consider avoiding social media altogether. But, this tactic might even hinder a candidate; with 35% of employers saying they are less likely to interview job candidates if they do not have an online presence. Therefore, a candidate should either continue using social media wisely, or begin to use it.

Since candidates are now forced into using social media, there are other actions they can avoid to keep abreast of the competition. They need to ensure that their spelling and grammar are on point to sidestep demerits from 66% of companies. Candidates should also avoid the pitfall of expressing their political views, as this is often viewed poorly in the eyes of a hiring manager (16%). Furthermore, the majority of hiring managers disfavor posts which are gun centric (51%).

Companies have taken to using social media by storm to gather information on their potential candidates. This adoption by employers poses a remediable threat and an overwhelmingly grand opportunity for candidates. In order to succeed in the new social media age, candidates should keep their posts tame, create a persona which buttresses their professional qualifications, and lastly show that they are a likable person.

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