July 13th, 2017 | Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

Infographic: Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Job Hunters

Today’s world is a much more social place. Imagine a time without social media. Some would argue that would be a perfect world, while others would miss being connected to friends, family and being on top of the most current news stories as they happen. According to We Are Social, the number of worldwide internet users is nearly 3.8 Billion while the number of active social media users is over 2.7 Billion and this is only expected to grow with estimates of over 30% of the world’s population using social networks just in 2017. The top three social sites that people spend time on a daily basis are Facebook (76%), Instagram (51%) and Twitter (42%).

Social Media Screening

According to CareerBuilder’s 2016 social media recruitment survey, 60% of US employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 52% last year and 11% a decade ago. 56% of HR and recruiters say some of their best candidates are sourced via social media. Sterling recently released Background Screening Trends and Best Practices Report 2017 found that 34% of HR executives currently conduct some social media screening during the hiring process. 95% of these searches are being conducted internally by hiring managers or a member of the HR team.

More and more companies are adding social media screening as a part of their background screening process. In fact, 49% of hiring managers who screen candidates via social media said they’d found information that causes them not to hire a candidate.

Tips for Job Hunters for Social Media Content

Job hunters need to be aware that everything they say online stays there and anyone can see it including prospective employers, former bosses or current workmates. Any questionable photos, potentially offensive comments, criticisms against current or former employers may come back to haunt the job seeker. Sterling created the Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Job Hunters as a guide for Millennials, recent college grads and current job seekers to help them understand the role of social media when looking for a new position.

Job hunters of all ages should use their social media applications to expand their professional network and share knowledge in their chosen industry. When job hunting, set up a LinkedIn account with industry-specific skills and keywords and participate targeted groups and discussions. It is crucial to maintain a professional online profile picture on social media platforms. Also, when posting, write professionally and check for correct spelling and grammar. Do NOT post inappropriate information or photos on your social media platforms. Keep these posts private or do not post at all. Also, don’t just “broadcast” posts out to the world. Be strategic with what you are posting and interact with people in your network.

Employer Benefits Vs. Candidate Rights

Candidates use social media to share information about themselves with the world. Some of this public information can help a candidate stand out in the crowd and even validate a hiring decision. For an organization, a social media search on a job candidate can reveal a job candidate’s anti-social, violent or illegal behavior. Finding this information in the background screening process could protect a company from a costly bad hire situation which could affect their brand and reputation. With the employer benefits, there is also a counterbalance of being compliant with privacy, discrimination and Fair Credit Reporting Act regulations. Organizations who are doing social media screening must make sure they are not basing their hiring decisions on protected characteristics including religious affiliation, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status or health conditions protected under state or federal anti-discrimination and privacy laws. Most importantly, companies have to focus their hiring decision on finding social media information relevant to the decision to make an offer of employment and not used for general “fishing” exercises.

Employers can develop a clear policy towards the use of social media for recruitment purposes, in consultation with employees or their representatives where this is required under local laws. Sterling created the Dos and Don’ts of Social Media for Job Hunters to guide job hunter on the proper usage of social media platforms to help them to be more “professional” online when looking for a new position.

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This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.