Spending countless hours pouring over the social media pages of acquaintances is no longer only for those who want to check up on the activities of old classmates or friends. According to the annual Social Recruiting Survey results in 2014, 93 percent of hiring managers will look up a potential job candidate on social media at some point during the hiring process.

Social media is an excellent tool for reaching out to those people with similar interests and for keeping in touch with friends and family, but the things you post online may come back to haunt you later. When polled, many hiring managers say that there are three key things that they look for when looking at potential new hires. They want to know about the candidate’s personality; they want to look for red flags, and they want to vet your qualifications.

Social Media Profiles are an Outside Window into Your Personality for Hiring Managers

Hiring managers are interested in your personality because they want to know if you are a good fit for the culture of the company, and they want to know what kind of person you are. A questionnaire or personality test can be an inaccurate way of figuring out what your personality is like because so many candidates simply tell them what they want to hear.social-media-profiles-HR-Managers

By looking at your social media account, hiring managers can see what your interests are and if you are a creative person. They can also learn about your lifestyle and how you interact with people by reading the content and conversations on your public profile. Whether you are hyper social or more of an introvert, hiring managers can get a more accurate picture of you from the information you willingly post online.

Candidate Red Flags

Out of the 55 percent of recruiters who have reconsidered a hiring decision based on social media, 61 percent of those decisions have been negative. When employers look at your profile, they are looking for warning signs of drug use and other negative behaviors such as excess partying and posting extremely controversial items or viewpoints. It is also noteworthy that 71 percent of employers will be turned off of a profile if they see that the candidate posts sexual references for the whole world to see.

Also, employers are even beginning to judge the spelling and grammar of the content that you post. A standard rule to live by is that if you would not tell a recruiter about your post at an interview, you should not post it online, especially when you are actively looking for work.

Qualification Verification

Many recruiters have also increasingly turned to LinkedIn and Facebook to properly vet your qualifications. One of the best things that a candidate can do when looking for a job is to have an up to date and complete resume on LinkedIn.

Having an outstanding profile on LinkedIn, for instance, will show hiring managers that you take your career seriously. It also gives them a chance to see whether or not you are connected with people in your industry.

By looking at your online profiles, recruiters can simultaneously verify your employment and education history and also get a sense of what your interests are outside of work. Many hiring managers will verify a candidate’s qualifications before they reach out for an initial interview, which means that your online presence should be established before you begin applying for jobs.

Social Media can be your biggest asset or your greatest enemy when you are looking for a job in today’s market. Even if you are unconcerned about your social media presence, you should consider cleaning up your profiles or changing the privacy settings on your account.

Even if you don’t think that your social media profiles have ever been a problem before, you may never know whether or not that is true because hiring managers often look at social profiles before they reach out to meet the real you.

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