Does Your Online Media Presence Reflect Poorly On You As A Candidate?

Does your online media presence reflect poorly on you as a candidate?

online media presence

In the hungover haze of the morning after the night before, we’ve all experienced that heart-sinking moment when a notification pops up on your screen: “You have been tagged in 26 photos.” While the less-than-flattering photographs aren’t exactly what you want to be sharing with your mass of online friends, have you thought about the impact they might also be having on your job?

This month, a survey of more than 7000 recruitment companies, HR managers and recruiters in the UK has found that 64% of employers have rejected a job application after looking at a candidate’s social media profile. In a time where competition for jobs is fierce, being abandoned by such a high proportion of potential bosses is something no-one can afford to do.

While you might keep your LinkedIn profile neatly pruned and highly polished, don’t get complacent. When you’re snooping through your sister’s new boyfriend’s profile, you know that the most accurate representation of him isn’t his profile photo – it’s his tagged photos! Well, recruiters are humans, too. Therefore, they know the same tricks as you do. Although the survey found that 88% of recruiters used LinkedIn for candidate recruitment, 25% also used Facebook, 8%, Twitter, and 33% used industry-based job boards, such as Gumtree.

It’s easy to see why recruiters favour social media as a tool for hiring. Firstly, it’s free! While a full page advert in a national newspaper costs up to £3K, a web link doesn’t cost one pretty penny – you do the math! Secondly; it doesn’t take a Sherlock to peruse social media accounts and deduct information, such as how many sick days you take, how often you’re late to work and your attitude towards colleagues and customers. This saves employers time and money in terms of hiring and training. It’s a clever game they play, and to keep climbing the career ladder, you need to be able to have your best cards on the table.

So, if you’re looking to impress in your industry, it’s important that your online persona is consistent across each platform. It’s equally important to keep things fresh. Leaving your LinkedIn account, online portfolio or blog to wilt unattended in cyberspace renders them obsolete. Updating on a regular basis showcases your latest achievements, keeps your connections interested and shows that you’re not lazy. These factors are all key in becoming a job magnet.

You might keep your wilder photos on lock-down, but in the saturated market, employers are digging a little deeper. They certainly know what they’re looking for: a 2012 survey showed that the top turn-offs for those recruiting included profanity, poor grammar and spelling, evidence of alcohol consumption and religious posts. They most favoured career boosting posts, such as mentions of volunteering. Although this may seem obvious, it’s surprising how many web users seem to forget just how public their online musings are. Companies such as Talent Bin even help employers seek out the information they need from your online presence. It’s not all one-sided, however: you can make the most of it too. The clever app from BranchOut lets people search for jobs using their Facebook friends and their friend’s contacts. This gives a whole new meaning to “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

So, next time your fingers are twitching over the keyboard during a sick day or a night out, consider this: what would my future boss think? We’re not saying you can’t have a fun social media life, but make sure your privacy settings are allowing you to show off the best of yourself. Devoting a few minutes to updating your professional profiles, retweeting some intelligent, industry-based articles and keeping a lid on any F-Bombs are all important when creating Brand You.

Let the offers come rolling in!

Xenia Rimmer

Xenia is a writer and blogger, currently based in London. She has had lots of experience within the media; spending time at places such as The Sunday Times, The BBC and S Magazine. Writing for YCB is something that she loves, as well as blogging for her own site; Follow her on Twitter @XeniaRimmer !

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