It’s February and I’m already behind in my posts. Yet, I attended a seminar and thought the information I gathered would be helpful to those active in their job search or soon-to-be.

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It’s about Social Media and how you may be viewed in advance of an interview and/or job offer. A few points of reference:

  • Over 90% of recruiters use social media to vet candidates pre-interview.
  • 56% of HR and recruiters say some of their best candidates are sourced via social media

A few facts about Social  Media Screening:

  • Over 43% of hiring managers  have uncovered material online that has resulted in not hiring  an individual.
  • 48% of applicants indicated drug or alcohol usage.
  • 24% of applicants lied about their qualifications.
  • 50% of candidates posted explicit or inappropriate photos.
  • 28% made comments discriminating on the basis of  race, gender, religion, etc.

Sources: CareerBuilder Social Media Recruitment Survey, 2016

One of the things I want you to consider is your privacy settings on any of the social networks you regularly participate in. While the U.S. is a bit behind the U.K. in how data is viewed and used when sourced online, I’d like to stay ahead of the game whenever possible. I advise my clients of the same.

I realize some people just don’t care what they post. However, while a company may follow certain rules about social media screening, the people inside may resort to their own vetting process. Whether this takes place before an applicant is even contacted, or after an interview takes place – one never can be sure who is looking in on you and at what point.

According to various sources, the top social networks used by Job Seekers are Facebook (83%); Twitter (40%); Google+ (37%) and LinkedIn (36%).

Those networks most used by Recruiters include: LinkedIn (94%); Facebook (65%); Twitter (55%) and Google+ (18%).

So if these are current and accurate ratings – something seems upside down. If 94% of Recruiters are using LinkedIn for recruiting, why are only 36% of Job Seekers?!

So without preaching to the choir – just take a moment to be smart. If you do your best to keep all your social media profiles smart, hooray for you! Set your privacy settings accordingly.

Here’s a bit of a safety net: While you may be careful when job hunting – one of your own contacts could tag you on something you are sure is inappropriate or just too risky for a hiring organization to see. Officially, something like that should not be held against you, as you did not originate it. But perception does not necesarrily mean reality. And we just can’t be sure who’s lurking.

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