Our recruiters explain how your social media accounts can be your best friend or your worst enemy when you’re looking for a mining job.
What is your Facebook profile picture right now? And what would it say about you to a potential employer? Have you ever posted anything on Twitter or TikTok that might disqualify you for a job?
Whether you like it or not, when you apply for a job your potential employer (or their recruiter or HR department) will be looking at your social media accounts to see what they can find out. We know from our own processes that recruiters are generally checking social media accounts after the first phone interview stage.
At least two studies, conducted in 2017 and 2020, have found that around 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. More than half (54%) have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles.
Here are the reasons employers have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media, according to the CareerBuilder study of more than 2,300 hiring managers.
- Posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39%
- Posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38%
- Posted discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32%
- Badmouthed their previous company or a fellow employee: 30%
- Lied about qualifications: 27%
- Had poor communication skills: 27%
- Had links to criminal behaviour: 26%
- Shared confidential information from previous employers: 23%
- Had an unprofessional screen name: 22%
- Lied about an absence: 17%
- Posted too frequently: 17%.
That’s quite a mix of reasons! Do your social media profiles contain any of the above? Are you sure?
How professional do you appear on social media?
As you can see from the list above, it’s not just the obvious indiscretions. Recruiters are also checking LinkedIn for inconsistencies with the resume the candidate submitted. Is the photo professional or unprofessional? Even the fact a candidate does not have a profile could be important, depending on the role.
Here’s what one recruiter told us: “I look for how much effort has gone into their profile and, if they have written articles, what they are about and the quality of the content,” she said. “The key thing for administration roles is presentation — so I’m looking to see whether they would fit the environment.”
They also look for spelling errors: “If they can’t spell, then how can they fill out an application form? If I don’t get a good impression from their page, I will get them to come through to the office to meet in person, as they could be someone completely different to what is shown on social media.”
Social media can help you get a job, too
Recruiters use a variety of channels to do their research, and social media is not the be-all and end-all. In fact, keeping your social media up to date can be a huge benefit.
Here’s some advice from a recruitment professional: “If a recruiter was to conduct a search and your LinkedIn profile lacked vital information which they were searching for, you could likely be overlooked for a position without even knowing it existed and, therefore, miss out on a potential position.
“Maintaining an active presence in social media, particularly LinkedIn, will keep you on the radar of recruiters and prospective hiring managers. Whether it is ‘liking’ a news article or commenting on posts, you are making yourself visible to your first and second connections.
“LinkedIn has 467 million members and they all have news feeds. Increase your chances of ‘being discovered’ but for the right reasons.”
One of the studies mentioned above, from CareerBuilder, actually found that having a social media presence can be vital to landing a job, with 57% of employers less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online.
But is a recruiter checking social media ethical and legal?
There is a fair bit of debate about the ethical and legal guidelines of recruiters using social media in this manner. But, in summary, yes: What you post on social media can see you miss out on the job of your dreams—and recruiters will be checking your profiles on various platforms.
However, it’s possible to turn that to your advantage, too. Keep your profiles up to date and accurate; be careful with your spelling, grammar and presentation; and show those recruiters your best professional you—it could make all the difference.
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