Keep It Clean: Social Media Screenings Gain in Popularity


    What you post on social media could have serious repercussions on your professional life. It could cost you your current job or job opportunities in the future.

    According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees.

    Managers look at social media accounts for an array of reasons, but many employers want to make sure a candidate will be a good fit with their company.

    “Because we tend to view our personal social media accounts as being ‘personal,’ there’s a good chance that by viewing someone’s profile, you’ll get a glimpse into their personality beyond the resume,” said DeeAnn Sims, founder of SPBX.

    While the fear of something embarrassing or negative being discovered might tempt some job candidates to completely erase their online persona, employers say that strategy can backfire.

    About half of employers – 47 percent – said they wouldn’t call a person for an interview if they can’t find them online. More than a quarter of employers say it’s because they like to gather more information before calling a candidate, and 20 percent say it’s because they expect candidates for have an online presence.

    “Whether it’s intentional or not, this [not having a profile] always feels like you have something to hide,” said Sims. “Either you’ve specifically taken steps to make sure you can’t be found, or you’re using a childish byname – neither of which feels very professional.”

    Despite what job candidates might think, most employers aren’t scouring the internet looking for reasons not to hire them. Most employers are looking for reasons to hire someone.

    The CareerBuilder study found that 58 percent of employers conduct social screenings to look for information supporting a candidate’s qualifications for the job, 50 percent want to ensure the candidate has a professional online persona, and 34 percent want to see what other people are posting about the candidate. Just 24 percent of those surveyed check social media to search for reasons not to hire someone.

    Having their social media pages investigated has paid off for many job seekers. Specifically, 37 percent of hiring managers said they found information supporting the candidate’s professional qualifications, and 33 percent were impressed with their professional image. Additionally, 34 percent thought a candidate displayed excellent creativity.

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