Monday, June 2, 2014

Landing the Right Job Starts With Your FaceBook Profile

Social media has taken the world by storm. From keeping in touch with family and friends around the world, to event invitations and even how businesses market themselves and their products, social media without a doubt has impacted how businesses operate. It also affects how businesses recruit.

I will be the first to admit that as a business person I thrive on utilizing social media for my recruiting projects. I have 24/7 instant access to a marketing monster that literally markets and recruits for me -– all at the touch of a button. I can’t even imagine why I wouldn’t recruit without at least a small portion of my efforts filtered through social media.

On the flip side, social media is also helping not just my firm, but others to get an idea of the type of candidates that are applying for the jobs I am recruiting. Before you get upset and start screaming out that “social media spying” is an invasion of privacy, it really isn’t.

Recently, CareerBuilder conducted a survey of 2,300 hiring managers on their use of social media in the hiring process. According to the survey, 65 percent of the managers reported they wanted to see if candidates presented themselves professionally.

This alone is important to businesses, because employees represent their companies beyond the workplace. I’ll never forget applying for a job in college and the business owner openly asking me, “If I asked my colleagues about you would they say you were one of those wild and crazy girls drunk and dancing on the bar on the weekend?” This was well before the social media revolution took hold, but it still shows that businesses had a genuine interest in who candidates are as a part of the hiring process.

“Social spying” has been going on for a very long time, but it has expanded well beyond asking your professional pals about candidates and their weekend activities.

When someone sets up a profile on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, etc., there are options for how little or how much information the individual wants the general public to see. Some people are dead set on the general public not being able to see anything unless they can control it (through friend requests, account settings, etc). Then there are those individuals that feel social media is their stage and want to share everything with the world. Either way, that information is online 24/7, which in turn gives instant access to at least some information about you to potential employers.

If you don’t want a potential employer, or anyone else, to know things about you that you don’t want them to know, you really shouldn’t create a profile at all.

Once a resume has been submitted or application has been filled out, I guarantee a handful of hiring professionals are using their favorite search engine to see what results may come up based on a name search. Or they are plugging a candidate’s name into a search on their favorite social media site to get a “real-life” view that goes beyond a resume.

Hear me out when I say this isn’t really a bad thing. Based on the type of profile and content on the profile, your odds of landing an interview, even a job may actually increase based on your last status update or your favorite hobbies. A carefully crafted profile can help showcase personal and professional qualifications while giving a well-rounded view of a candidate. Social media gives businesses the opportunity to have a snapshot of the person behind the resume.

On the flip side, businesses could instantly throw your resume into the shred pile if your profile screams irresponsible party animal. Rule of thumb: If you don’t want to answer questions in a Monday interview about the weekend you just had, you might want to think twice about posting pictures or comments.

Keep in mind that employers are not solely basing their decisions on status updates and profile pictures, but they can have an impact on the decision if you end up as a lead candidate or on the "maybe" list.

If you are serious about seeking out better opportunities anytime in the near future, I suggest taking a serious look at what you are presenting to the world and making sure it is in line with what you would like hiring professionals such as myself to see.

Monica Bitrick is a human relations consultant who lives and works in Idaho Falls.