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Do Employers Really Screen Students' Social Media Accounts?

We’ve all heard online warning phrases like “what you put on the Internet stays forever” or “what you say or do online is permanent.” But checking our social media accounts has become part of our daily routines. The rise of social networking sites has opened up various platforms for us to express ourselves, which also means our digital footprints are increasing. Anyone, including a potential employer, can learn a lot about you based on your social media profiles in a relatively short time. But do employers actually look at your Facebook or your most recent Tweet? The answer is yes. According to the 2014 Social Recruiting Survey led by Jobvite, 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. Therefore, whether you agree with this as a screening practice or not, here are the top dos and don’ts for using social media.

Do

  • Use social media. According to the Jobvite Survey, 79% of employers have hired candidates through LinkedIn. Therefore, you still want to have a presence in the social media realm because it can be an effective resource in terms of networking.
  • Be mindful about what you post, where you post, and who can see it. This should be obvious by now, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. Also, remember to check your privacy settings on a regular basis because they change frequently.
  • Check out social media accounts of companies. Have you ever looked at a social media page belonging to a new friend to learn more about them? We know employers are looking at their potential candidates profiles, but remember you can check out a company’s social media page to learn what they are all about as well.  

Don’t

  • Post negative or obscene content on your social media. According to the Jobvite Survey, the worst content you can post is any kind of reference to illegal drugs. Next on the list are sexual posts and alcohol related posts.
  • Use an inappropriate photo as your profile picture. Ever heard the saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression?” Therefore, what if your profile picture is the first impression to a recruiter with your dream company? Do you think you would get an interview or an offer?
  • Identify yourself as ‘unemployed’ or ‘jobseeker’ on social media. Both words seem to have a negative connotation today and may deter future employers. Therefore, if you are searching, consider classifying yourself as an 'undergraduate student' or ‘professional’ of your respective field. Or swap out ‘professional’ for ‘graduate’ if you are a recent graduate.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with employers using various social networks during the recruitment process, please know they do and that the information you share from your social media profile creates a personal brand of yourself for employers to see. So before you post or get tagged in that picture from spring break, think about the repercussions it could have in the future.

References: LinkedIn, Time, Huffington Post  

“You must regulate your life by the standards you admire when you are at your best.”
-John M. Thomas

Categories: Social Media

About the author

Danielle Corrigan

Danielle Corrigan is the Employer Relations & Recruiting Manager at Engineering Career Services