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Why social media matters in the age of candidate screening

PUBLISHED: 12:32 20 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:31 23 May 2016


By the start of 2016, 2.3 billion active social media users were happily tweeting, liking and typing around the world - creating inevitable industry trends in the process.

At the forefront of social media integration has been recruitment: researching candidates on networking sites in the US has risen 22% since 2008 to 60%, according to a CareerBuilder annual survey in 2016. From this batch, 61% are operating in the financial sector.

What about the UK? Figures published in 2015 by social media monitoring service, Reppler, revealed that the UK is equally vigorous, with 68% of hiring managers selecting a candidate based on their social media profiles. These headline stats tell a story of change, but how can candidates also use this shift to work in their favour? Managing Director at Grafton Banks Alex Gregory discusses the process.

Why do employers look at your profiles?

A tightened recruitment market, an increasing shift to digital business plans and improved market confidence means that organisations now face fierce competition for the best talent. Employers and employees can both use this to their advantage, As the leading business network online, LinkedIn profiles are the first point of call for many employers, followed by Twitter and Facebook. Screening can occur at the application or interview stage, or both. As you might expect, the top reasons why most recruiters and employers look on our profiles is to determine whether you:

• Will fit into the company culture

• Are professional

• Have a wide range of interests

• Are who you say you are on your CV. 

How candidates can turn the tables

Before you head into an interview, armed with your fully assessed job spec, candidates look at a company profile to seek insights like:

• Generic information

• Which news items and features matter to them

• Signs of career progression

• Company culture – for example, event tweets, team images and competitions

• Industry LinkedIn groups for networking opportunities – if you don’t land the interview, set your sights on future prospects. 

How to optimise your profiles

• If you wish to retain an element of freedom while you’re on the hunt for a new job, lock down every profile – bar LinkedIn – with tight security controls.

• Correct lazy grammar and spelling mistakes, particularly within any top summary or bio sections.

• Are you an ‘All-Star’ on LinkedIn? If not, follow the checkpoints to raise your profile.

• Leave no stone unturned. Include any charity work, qualifications and even hobbies in your profiles as the most obscure skill could be picked up by someone.

• Whatever you do: do not lie!

• Link any profile to a personal blog or website to demonstrate your industry knowledge and commitment to an employer.

• Maintain a steady stream of interesting news on your feeds; if you’re reading about them, why not post them too? 

Does social media screening always work?

The general assumption today is that most job seekers will have a LinkedIn profile, so many recruiters will look there first. Many think that screening on personal networks like Facebook is too intrusive, and high security settings can make it a fruitless process. Securing top talent is fundamental to a business. If you have the qualifications, many employers will take a sensible approach.


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