How your social media profiles can affect your job and career opportunities

A social media presence is something that many individuals have today, whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or many of the other options that are currently available. As a technical and industrial recruitment agency, we know the ins and outs of the hiring process and we know that companies want to find out as much as possible about potential employees, sometimes before they even get to the interview stage. As well as checking references and carrying out telephone interviews, companies are now checking social media profiles to try and get an idea of an individual’s personality.

It’s a good idea to make sure your privacy settings are adjusted to suit. Drunk, embarrassing photos of people are easy to come across on the likes of Facebook, but would you want a potential employer seeing these before they’ve had a chance to meet you? Rightly or wrongly potential employers are forming an opinion of people from their social media profiles, and privacy settings are a great way to filter out the things you don’t want them to see. This way you can have your Facebook profile as you want it, and you will have full control over who can see what.

Many Twitter profiles are ‘unprotected’ meaning Tweets that an individual posts are viewable to anyone who wants to look at them. You need to be aware of what you’re posting on your profile, or at least protect your Tweets so they can’t be viewed by just about anyone. An employer may think twice if they disapprove of the content of your Tweets, for example if you are being overly aggressive or starting unnecessary arguments with other people online.

On a positive note, you can also utilise your social media profiles to help you gain an advantage when looking for a new job. For example, LinkedIn is the most widely recognised social media site on a professional level. Make sure you have a LinkedIn presence, build up your connections, ask for recommendations and use it as a tool to market yourself. Many companies (including us) are now using LinkedIn as a recruitment tool to source candidates, so make sure your profile is ‘complete’ so that potential employers can find you easily. You can also join hundreds of groups made specifically for people looking for work, and for companies looking to recruit. We have our own ‘Recruitment Division’ group on LinkedIn which now has over 600 members. If we are viewing a LinkedIn profile which is neat and up to date, with good spelling and grammar, we would be more likely to want to progress with this person, over someone who has neglected their profile.

We’re not saying that your social media presence is the be all and end all of recruiting, in fact many companies will be very understanding of what people put on their profiles, and appreciate that what people get up to in their own time is up to them. However, if a recruiter is struggling to decide who to take on between two candidates after the interview stage, they may check their social media profiles to aid their decision process. Considering the impact this could have on your career is certainly worth it.