Your Social Profile - just how important is it when job hunting?
Karen Lloyd job search, Marketing, candidate...
We all like to think that we have control over how our personal lives interact with our professional ones, particularly in the digital world. However, it isn’t quite so clear cut as we might think. Of course we can choose who we friend on Facebook, but our control over who follows us on Instagram, SnapChat or Twitter is much less tailored - private or public. So if your settings are public, is this necessarily a bad thing when it comes to job hunting?
With such a ready source of information available in the public domain, it is hardly surprising that many employers admit to screening candidate’s social profiles as part of their hiring decision making process. In fact, a survey last year suggested up to 84% of employers will review a candidate’s publicly available social profile as part of the hiring process.
So, what might affect your chances of landing a role?
Positives – yes, there are some!
Especially for those in a digital role, ambitious about building their careers and seeking to become a marketing influencer, a well-managed LinkedIn and Twitter account will go a long way to showing how you embody and embrace the role of social.
Demonstrating your interest in your chosen career as well as more personal topics will help to round out your profile and create a more dimensional persona. Employers are just as interested in the positives regarding the content you share, the conversations you get involved in and your interactions with influencers and followers as they are seeking out potential negatives.
An influential reach – as a marketer, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of acquiring fake followers, but it has been done and many have been caught out. Businesses will be more impressed by the impact of your reach than purely by follower numbers which is in effect a vanity metric.
Inactivity; for someone in a digital role, this could be as much of a turn off as inappropriate content. There is an expectation today that you will have a social presence, and for a specialist in the field, to have little or no social activity could raise questions.
Inappropriate content; holiday photos, a wild Friday night out or jaunts with friends really shouldn’t affect your chances of landing a role, as long as there is no illegal or seriously inappropriate behaviour captured for the world to see.
The content of your posts; this is a slightly different matter, especially on those sites that have fewer privacy controls. As you are well aware, the voice of a brand needs to be embodied throughout all company communication. If you are promulgating views or opinions, indulging in activities that are contrary to the brand’s overarching values, then potential employers may see you as a risk not worth taking. If in doubt, consider whether you’d broadcast that view in the office – if the answer is no then don’t do it on public social media.
So, in summary a social profile is important; it is your public persona in the digital realm and you need to be aware of what image this presents to the wider world. Just be aware of where to draw the line between private and professional. This doesn’t mean that you can’t let your personal self out online, just be conscious about using those platforms that give you a greater degree of privacy to do so.