Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 8th 2014 Contents B22
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Social media is a key player in the job
search process today. Sites like Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allow employ-
ers to get a glimpse of who you are outside
the confines of a résumé, cover letter, or
interview---while they offer job seekers the
opportunity to learn about companies they re
interested in; connect with current and former
employees; and hear about job openings
instantaneously, among other things.
That s probably why half of all job seekers
are active on social networking sites on a daily
basis, and more than a third of all employers
utilize these sites in their hiring process.
Career transition and talent development
consulting firm Lee Hecht Harrison asked
hundreds of job seekers via an online poll,
"How active are you on social networking
sites?" Forty-eight percent said they re very
active on a daily basis, while 19% said they
log on about two or three times per week.
Another 22% said they use social networking
sites one to three times per month, or less.
Only 11% of job seekers said they never use
social networking websites.
"I was really excited to see how many job
seekers are active on social media," says Helene
Cavalli, vice president of marketing at Lee
Hecht Harrison. "As strong advocates, we
spend a lot of time coaching job seekers on
how to develop a solid social media strategy.
While it isn t the only strategy for finding a
job, it s becoming increasingly important."
Greg Simpson, a senior vice president at
Lee Hecht Harrison, said in a press statement
that job seekers must understand how hiring
managers and recruiters are using social media
in all phases of the selection process.
To help job seekers better understand the
role of social media in their job search, Career-
Builder.com conducted a survey last year that
asked 2,303 hiring managers and human
resource professionals if, how, and why they
incorporate social media into their hiring
First they found that 37% of employers use
social networks to screen potential job candi-
dates. That means about two in five companies
browse your social media profiles to evaluate
your character and personality--and some even
base their hiring decision on what they find.
"Social media is a primary vehicle of com-
munication today, and because much of that
communication is public, it s no surprise some
recruiters and hiring managers are tuning in,"
says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of
human resources at CareerBuilder.
CareerBuilder also asked employers why
they use social networks to research candidates,
and 65% said they do it to see if the job seeker
presents himself or herself professionally. About
half (51%) want to know if the candidate is a
good fit for the company culture, and another
45% want to learn more about his or her qual-
ifications. Some cited "to see if the candidate
is well-rounded" and "to look for reasons not
to hire the candidate," as their motives.
So, if you re among the 89% of job seekers
that use social networking sites (daily, some-
times, or rarely), you ll want to be careful.
A third (34%) of employers who scan social
media profiles said they have found content
that has caused them not to hire the candidate.
About half of those employers said they didn t
offer a job candidate the position because of
provocative or inappropriate photos and infor-
mation posted on his or her profile; while 45%
said they chose not to hire someone because
of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on
his or her social profiles. Other reasons they
decided not to offer the job: the candidate s
profile displayed poor communication skills,
he or she bad mouthed previous employers,
made discriminatory comments related to race,
gender, or religion, or lied about qualifications.
(Haefner says no matter what information
is found on a candidate, and regardless of
where it s found, the process has to abide by
fair and equal hiring practices.)
"If you choose to share content publicly on
social media, make sure it s working to your
advantage," Haefner says. "Take down or secure
anything that could potentially be viewed by
an employer as unprofessional and share con-
tent that highlights your accomplishments and
qualifications in a positive way."
Brad Schepp, co-author of How to Find A
Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and
Google+, adds: "Make sure any profiles you
write are free of typos, the information is
coherent and applicable to your industry [or
job you re trying to land], and your photos
present you in a favourable light. You can verify
the applicability of the information by checking
profiles of others in the same field."
The information you provide online about
your job background and accomplishments
should also be consistent, he says. "Don t
assume an employer will only be checking you
out on LinkedIn. They may also check Face-
book, or even Twitter and Google+. The story
you tell on each site should be pretty much
the same, although it s fine to adapt the material
for the site."
The good news is that hiring managers aren t
just screening your social media profiles to dig
up dirt; they re also looking for information
that could possibly give you an advantage. The
CareerBuilder survey revealed that 29% of sur-
veyed hiring managers found something positive
on a profile that drove them to offer the can-
didate a job.
In some cases it was that the employer got
a good feel for the candidate s personality. Oth-
ers chose to hire because the profile conveyed
a professional image. In some instances it was
because background information supported
professional qualifications, other people posted
great references about the candidate, or because
the profile showed that the job seeker is creative,
well-rounded, or has great communication
This means the job seekers shouldn t just
focus on hiding or removing inappropriate
content; they should work on building strong
social networks and creating online profiles
that do a really good job of representing their
skills and experience in the workplace, Simpson
said in a press statement. "Job seekers who
are silent or invisible online may be at a dis-
advantage. They need to engage on social net-
working sites to increase their visibility and
searchability with prospective employers," he
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