August 23, 2016

Are jobseekers aware that their online activity is under scrutiny?

HR is increasingly assessing the suitability of prospective employees by checking their social media profiles. Likewise, employees are increasingly going online to assess the suitability of prospective employers.

These are some of the findings of recent research by jobs board Monster and YouGov. It reveals that more than half (56%) of UK employers are influenced by what they find online on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn during the recruitment process.

This trawling of sites can lead to HR professionals deciding not to call a candidate to interview or deciding not to proceed with a candidate that has already been interviewed (cited by 36%). Moreover, 65% of the 4,000 HR professionals involved in the survey say they do a Google search on candidates during the hiring process.

Candidates are also making good use of sites to check out employers. The survey found that many jobseekers are doing their homework on companies, with 28% of them saying they have been influenced by what they read on websites such as Glassdoor. When the results are less than favourable, jobseekers are less likely to apply for positions.

Are jobseekers aware that their online activity is under scrutiny? Two thirds said they thought that a company would most likely reject their application because of their online footprint. Despite this, few of them actively manage their social profile. And just under half (48%) say they are conscious of how their online reputation might look to a potential employer.

Younger candidates are much more aware of how their digital footprint might count against them. One in five (20%) said they are very conscious of how their online reputation could impact on their job prospects.

This research backs up the findings of The Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey 2015. An annual study examining the trends, challenges and opportunities facing recruiters across the UK, the 2015 research found that 92% of recruiters use social media networks to assist in the hiring process. Only 4% of recruiters do not use social media when recruiting.

While referrals were cited as the best way to recruit candidates who are ‘the perfect fit’ (78%), social and professional networks were next at 56%. The most popular social media platform visited by recruiters when recruiting was LinkedIn (87%), followed by Facebook at 55% and Twitter at 47%. Newer networks, such as Snapchat, Vimeo, Tumblr and Periscope, also feature.

Andy Sumner, MD at Monster UK and Ireland, says HR needs to be aware of how important these social media platforms have become, both from a hiring perspective and a candidate perspective. “More and more employees and employers are looking for a good cultural fit, so often a Google search will tell a recruiter more than a CV can,” he says. “The external employer brand of a business is really significant when attracting talent – so recruiters should think of the image they are projecting as an organisation, as well as spending time using social media to understand their interviewees.”