What Are Hiring Managers Actually Looking For In Your Social Media Profile?

According to Business News Daily, a full 60 percent of all employers now refer to social media networks for a sharper insight into the hirability of their job applicants, and it’s not just LinkedIn, alone.  Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook allow employers to observe the tendencies and inclinations of their job candidates beyond what is apparent through resumes, cover letters, and even job interviews.

However, while maintaining a professional social media presence is a must; most job seekers who understand the importance of this concept may be able relax, to a certain degree.

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Recognize the Objective

Based upon a U.S. study which surveyed 2,186 human resource and hiring managers, only 21 percent stated that they are specifically searching social media profiles for reasons not to hire a specific job applicant; whereas 60 percent of those surveyed are only perusing as a way to gain information which will maintain and reinforce the employer’s decision to hire the candidate; such as an expert portfolio and professional credentials.

Fifty-three percent of the entire surveyed group of hiring managers agreed that social media helps them determine whether or not a candidate possesses a professional overall online persona, while 30 percent are observing what others may be posting about the candidate.

Beyond LinkedIn

While a significant group of hiring managers may not be purposely seeking negative commentary, practically half of the surveyed group reported that they have encountered enough social media evidence to dissuade them from hiring a particular candidate. Often, candidates with a solid LinkedIn profile may assume that they are covered as far as their professional social media presence is concerned, but since most hiring managers are also examining the other more socially oriented websites, job seekers need to ensure that all aspects of their social media presence is of an appropriate nature.

Don’t Disappear

This is not to say, however, that candidates should focus solely on eliminating content that could be deemed inappropriate. Rather, they should also concentrate on creating and expanding their professional image to highlight their job qualifications, representing themselves as the competent candidates they actually are. In other words, remaining in the shadows of social media for fear of misrepresentation is not the answer. Job seekers should ensure they are engaging in positive, applicable, and effective networking to stay engaged and visible to hiring managers. Remember that this advice is not just exclusively applicable to LinkedIn, but to all of the social networks with which they regularly participate.

Not Just Candidates

It turns out that job seekers are not the only ones vulnerable to their own social media discrepancies. Thirty percent of surveyed employers also use social media websites to investigate current employees. Twenty-five percent of the group stated they have discovered content which resulted in their decision to either cite a warning or even terminate the employee in question. Many experts recommend that employees and job seekers, alike, run a Google search of themselves (including images) to ensure there isn’t any negative content or, presumably private, social media photos showing up on the first page of your search results.

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Paying close attention to your web and social media conduct will not only give you peace of mind as job seeker or employee, but it will also work in your favor when you are looking to impress a subsequent employer who is considering you for their next important role.

Fred Coon, CEO


At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.