You really need to pay more attention to what you put online

With social media increasingly used as a recruitment tool, is it time for us to pay more attention to what we put online?

Recruiters are warning that young people and graduates risk their chances of employment by what they post online. Employers are searching social media profiles as a method of examining the prospective graduate pre-interview. And while some people don't think we have too much to worried about, concern is increasingly raised over users leaving their privacy settings open, allowing employers to view pictures and posts.

Katerina Rüdiger, skills policy adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, notes that an “increasing number of employers are turning to social media to engage with their future workforce.” Just as graduates research employers online, these employers are now researching their applicants, and, with the wealth of information available, employers can thoroughly investigate each prospective candidate.

Online profiles can be used to the applicant's benefit, however. Katerina considers that “social media [has a] great potential to help employers adapt their recruitment methods in line with the needs and expectations of today’s youth.”

Adrian Thomas, chairman of the Recruitment Society, believes that “the transparency of information works two ways” with online recruitment. “There is very little offline job advertising anymore,” he says, with adverts either appearing on websites or social media, which “has not only made [job seeking] more accessible, but has also allowed interactivity in a way that was never possible before.”

An increased reliance on this method of recruitment has raised concerns of how candidates conduct themselves online, Thomas suggests that “the simple overriding advice is to think before you post – if your Mother would be embarrassed by your post then it probably isn’t sensible to post to an open group.”

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters maintains that “Facebook and Twitter are not the first places a recruiter would go to find out more about a prospective employee.” The social network sites can be unreliable, and employers would rather invite candidates “for an interview or psychometric profiling rather than search the Internet for accounts that may or may not belong to the right person.”

Once again, there is the idea that this use of social media can be put to the advantage of the graduate and prospective employee, as Gilleard notes: “used sensibly and constructively, social media is an excellent way to express yourself and build your personal ‘brand’.”

The signs are evident that social media is being increasingly used as a recruitment tool. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles are not always the best depiction of an individual’s professionalism, however. There have been a number of stories on employees being fired or reprimanded for what they have posted on Facebook about the company with which they work for, or even photos that they have posted while having a sick day off.

One example is an image that went viral of ‘Lindsay’ criticising her boss in a post on Facebook, calling him a “pervvy w***er”. ‘Lindsay’ had forgotten that she had added her boss as a friend, and was subsequently fired in the comments section of her post. Another more recent example of social media shenanigans is the HMV twitter account hijacker, who has revealed her identity as Poppy Rose Cleere, and has since “received many job offers”, according to her sister Grace Cleere.

Doug Thompson, a Computer Science undergraduate at the University of Southampton, who has recently completed a year internship at IBM, said that “all I know is everyone around me is petrified of [being caught out on Facebook].” Amongst students there seems to be an increased awareness of the affects social media can have on their employability. George Hopkin, studying English and American Literature at the University of Kent, says that he is “not worried” about recruitment firms researching candidates online. “Social media should be used in the right way; it’s about portraying an employable person.” Asked whether he thought social media was an accurate representation of a prospective employee, George said “No – each site portrays a different aspect of a person’s life, a combined social media would be more accurate.”

There is a website which achieves this end. Known as Vizify, it collates all of the user’s social media accounts into one, “creating a series of interactive infographics that show the best of [the user].” Sites such as LinkedIn have created a more professional based platform for users to show off their skills. Last year Facebook also announced its job board, an application which collects job data from applications already in existence such as BranchOut, DirectEmployers and JobVite. With Facebook itself entering the area of recruitment, it is difficult to ignore the importance of social media profiles in both job seeking and recruitment.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Cloud ERP Solution Provide...

Guru Careers: Junior Designer / Design Graduate

£18 - 20k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Junior Designer / Design Graduate to...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Trainee Teacher - Maths

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organization is the larges...

Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral