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Tips to help job seekers clean up their social media act

Employers are increasingly turning to social media for an insight into the behaviour and personalities of the people they are looking to recruit. In her latest blog, Kate Allen, Managing Director at Allen Associates, explores why being aware of what you post online is so important.

Employers are increasingly turning to social media for an insight into the behaviour and personalities of the people they are looking to recruit. In her latest blog, Kate Allen, Managing Director at Allen Associates, explores why being aware of what you post online is so important.

Many employers are as concerned with personality and team fit as they are with hard skills and experience, which is why they may turn to social media as a way of trying to get to know candidates better and differentiate one from the other.

They may not be overt about it, but employers have told us that they find it useful to check out job seekers online. In some cases, they use candidates’ social media activities to help them form opinions and provide further information about candidates, before or after interview. 

Our experiences are borne out by research by Jobvite which revealed that half of all the employers surveyed said they viewed candidates’ social media profiles and activities before making them a job offer. A third said they had come across content which had prevented them from going ahead with the offer. 

If you are actively looking for a job or considering your next career move, the following tips might be helpful:
 

  • Check your privacy settings: Review all your social platforms and put as many controls in place as possible.
  • Behave yourself: If you know you are prone to using bad language or publishing photos which some might consider to be embarrassing or even offensive, it’s worth taking the time to refresh your content and keep it clean moving forwards. You are of course free to express yourself however you like but you just need to be aware of the impact this might have on future employment. 
  • Spelling and grammar matter: It’s interesting how many employers are turned off by badly written content. 
  • Position yourself as a bit of an expert: If you want to build a reputation as being a specialist in a particular field or become known for your work in a certain area, why not invest time in writing about and sharing what you know. Blogs are a great forum, as are work-related chat rooms. Industry-specific websites often welcome guest articles too. 
  • Create a business persona for yourself on LinkedIn: Most organisations are active on LinkedIn and use it to check out candidates’ skills, experience, contacts and endorsements. It is also the number one search site for recruiters, so it’s important that you use your LinkedIn profile to showcase what you have to offer. Don’t forget to source an appropriate photograph.
  • Reflect on what your social media activities say about you: Employers will form an opinion of you based on what you say and do online so it’s worth trying to take a holistic view of your activities if you can. Are you a social media flirt? Do you use it to gossip about others? Is it all about your family snapshots? Are you a prolific business networker? Do you engage with articles and contribute your own?


I would never claim to be a social media expert or advocate sanctions but I do think it’s wise to use common sense when posting images and messages online and stop to consider how others might perceive your actions. My view is that if you wouldn’t say it or show it in person or you wouldn’t want your boss to find out about it, don’t post it online – especially when you are job hunting!
If you’re looking for a new temporary or permanent role at any level within Administration/PA, Marketing, HR or Finance, or an Executive position in Oxfordshire, please come and view the latest jobs available at www.allen-associates.co.uk Alternatively, please contact us at jobs@allen-associates.co.uk or on 01865 335600. We would love to hear from you!

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