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Social Media Profiling
Social media provides a window into any applicants personality: their interests, their sense of humor, if they’re professional, and, sometimes, how they behaved at their last job. Social media profiling is a value-added benefit a newspaper can do to help entice recruiters.

The job market today is a minefield, for both applicants and employers. No one likes the hiring process; it’s an arduous, time-consuming task that is filled with a number of potential pitfalls. Every employer wants to be sure they hire the best possible candidate. And to do that, they go through a screening process based on qualifications, tests and interviews. But, today, employers have a new way of helping to determine the personality of any applicant: their Facebook profile. Well, really, any social media can help in that regard. Social media provides a window into any applicants personality: their interests, their sense of humor, if they’re professional, and, sometimes, how they behaved at their last job. Social media profiling is a value-added benefit a newspaper can do to help entice recruiters.

But how many companies actually take advantage of this opportunity? And more importantly, is it wrong to judge a candidate based on their social media life? BNET’s Kimberly Weisul explored this issue in her article “Is Facebook Helping or Hurting Your Job Search?” In a recent survey on Vault.com (Vault’s 2010 Social Media Survey), reports showed that an active social media presence could, in fact, boost your job performance.

In a recent survey on Vault.com (Vault’s 2010 Social Media Survey), reports showed that an active social media presence could, in fact, boost your job performance. 

But, for a minority of companies, it could hurt—if you’re careless about the information you present.

Vault.com’s survey included 150 companies and 3,500 job candidates. Only seven percent of companies admitted to having rejected candidates based on social media indiscretions. One percent aren’t shy at all about blackballing you, they stated that they disqualified 11 to 20 percent of candidates based on what they discover. More than a third say they do look at a candidate’s social media profile during the application process. Four percent say social media screening is an official part of the recruiting process. But the number of employers with a social media policy is growing, 27 percent reported that they were in the process of writing one.

“So even if company recruiters say they won’t reject you outright because of the pictures they found of your tasteless Halloween getup, it’s not going to go unnoticed, either. Hardly the best way to make a first impression,” Weisul concluded.

So even if company recruiters say they won’t reject you outright because of the pictures they found of your tasteless Halloween getup, it’s not going to go unnoticed, either. Hardly the best way to make a first impression,”

Vault.com’s career expert Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio believes that recruiters are looking at Facebook, even if they don’t admit to it. “If you have digital dirt out there,” Thanasoulis-Cerrachio elaborates, “it’s a bad judgement call on your part. Even if you think you’ve taken all the measures to make sure your profile and photos are private, this is the Internet and nothing is ever 100 percent private.”

Recruiters suggest hiding at least 60 percent of your photos, especially the racy ones. Fifty-one percent of employers suggest keeping your wall private, all together. If you don’t want to remain private, delete any offensive posts, even if you didn’t write them. Thirty-six percent of employers suggest removing all political or religious posts.

Reader Nan King, who posted a comment on BNET’s article, expressed concerns over using social media screening, stating that people are different outside of the work environment and it is unfair to judge a candidate’s worth based on their social life, and may only give a glimpse of who the candidate really is.

If you’re concerned that someone with the same name as you could screw up your job applications, use a middle initial or full middle name to distinguish yourself. Use your full name on all business communications and use a photo of yourself in your LinkedIn profile, which can set you apart from another’s indiscretions.


WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA DO COMPANIES PREFER?

LinkedIn             

  • 74 percent of recruiters admit to finding candidates via LinkedIn.
  • About 50 percent of recruiters check up on the candidates’ backgrounds.
  • 21 percent research candidates networks
  • Candidates like LinkedIn too

Facebook

  • 11 percent of recruiters use Facebook to get a feel for the candidates’ personality.

Twitter

  • Only three percent of recruiters say they check Twitter.