Most people understand it’s important to adequately prepare for a job interview. But no matter how much time you spend answering those practice questions or perfecting your handshake, there will still be some elements you can’t control once you’re in the room. For example, a person who’s deemed to be attractive has a 72.3% chance to receive a callback after an interview. So even if they’re highly qualified, an unattractive individual has statistically less favorable odds of landing the job. It’s an unfortunate fact, but it’s a fact nonetheless.
But before you’re ever even called in for the initial interview, you can improve your odds of being hired — not by getting a makeover or buying a new wardrobe, but simply by being smart with your social media. However, your definition of “smart” might actually hurt your chances if you take it to the extreme. Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t delete your accounts and make your profiles totally impersonal. While you shouldn’t share anything controversial by any means, you’ll need to be active and engaged on the most popular social media networks if you want to make a good impression.
Research shows that approximately 93% of recruiters look at a candidate’s social media profile and 70% of employers screen candidates by looking at their social media accounts. While this might make you apprehensive to post anything, lest it be misconstrued by a potential employer, that attitude could potentially cost you the job — particularly in industries that rely on social media savvy.
Jobseekers used to be cautioned about maintaining their social media presence and the dangers of an employer being able to track their online activity. It is absolutely true that if you post the wrong things on social media, this can have dire career consequences. In a 2016 survey conducted by Jobvite, 72% of recruiters and HR professionals had negative reactions to typos on social media postings, while 60% were annoyed by general oversharing. Approximately 71% said they couldn’t abide posts relating to marijuana use, while 47% said they couldn’t stand those that featured alcohol consumption. Jobseekers and currently employed workers alike should refrain from posting in this manner on social media, as is the case with offensive or hateful language.
But that doesn’t mean you should stop posting altogether. Recruiters and employers do want to find out more about you and whether you’ll be a good fit for the company. After all, there’s only so much you can tell from a professional interview. According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 65% of employers say they look at a candidate’s social media profile to see whether they present themselves professionally, while 51% want to see if they’re a good fit for the company’s culture. In many ways, your social media profiles can give an employer even more reasons to hire you; you’ll just need to think of them as an extension of your resume, rather than a private diary where you can vent or share NSFW photos.
Wingfinder conducted a recent poll that showed Millennials seem to have a good grasp on these concepts. Around 70% of college grads said they wouldn’t consider making their social media profiles private while looking for a job — and that’s a good thing. Employers want to be able to find candidates on social media. If they can’t find an account for you, that actually might send up a red flag.
That said, you should keep potential employers in mind when choosing what to share. Think twice about sharing funny memes, viral videos, or anything that could be considered rude or crude. But by posting content that portrays who you are in a positive light, any recruiter or employer who happens to find your profile will likely be pleased by what they find.