How employers screen job applicants using social media

We’ve all heard the stories of people who put crazy statements on their Facebook status, causing not only great embarrassment to them, but often cause them to lose their jobs too.

Crazy status updates

You know the kind of thing…. “OMG, I am sooooo hungover, hope everyone is having fun working today while I have a ‘sickie’ “ or “I SO hate my boss blah blah blah”.

Okay, so these really are extreme examples of stupidity online, but what is truly amazing though, is quite how many people put little or no thought into their online presence.

Don’t forget that the starting point for most people when looking to research potential clients, candidates, employers, business partners, colleagues or friends is Google. They open a web browser and they search.

If you want to stand out from the crowd

If you want to stand out from the crowd, and show yourself as different and memorable, just a little time invested in producing a great online presence goes a long, long way. Most people now have a Facebook page and/or Twitter profile. Most of us are on Linked In and some even blog. This is all great and a step in the right direction.

And the importance of a great online presence, doesn’t end there. If you ever wondered how a potential employer uses social media in the hiring process, here are some stats that I found recently and they are quite eye opening (source:

So, with these in mind, it really is time to have another look at what you put out onto the world-wide web. And while you are at it, get onto that privacy policy page and limit who can see what about you.

Remember, no matter how careful you usually are, one mistake will not go away. What you put online you cannot take away.

Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at, use the contact page on my website or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @recruit_eagle, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to speaking soon.

Views: 20903

Comment by Darryl Dioso on March 14, 2012 at 10:05am

Nice post.

It's a fine balancing act though. Of course one would be leery of hiring the drunk with the puke covered pics but you also don't want (in my opinion) someone that was so bland and was all "business" on their page. Show some personality...or at least a pulse.

Comment by james nathan on March 14, 2012 at 10:07am

absolutely Darryl. My thinking is really simple - be you, and show your real personality. Its a great medium to add value, but be wise to how the info you put out is used. 

Comment by Tim Spagnola on March 14, 2012 at 10:11am

While this makes a lot of sense it just appears so time consuming. Is the trend for corporate HR departments to hire a social media expert to conduct this type of activity?

Comment by james nathan on March 14, 2012 at 10:14am

a lot of businesses are, but I guess I was more thinking from an individuals position. It can be time consuming, but once you have all your ducks lined up and integrated, it really doesn't take all that long. And, if you are a bit of a geek like me, then you will enjoy it all

Comment by Tim Spagnola on March 14, 2012 at 10:26am

Trust me James...I am a proud geek. ; ) Thanks for sharing interesting stuff and certainly the direction where things are heading.

Comment by james nathan on March 14, 2012 at 10:34am

complete pleasure Tim, thank you for having me

Comment by Dezzi Rae Marshall on March 14, 2012 at 7:03pm

Great article and right on the money, James!

The first thing I do when I see a promising resume come across my desk is do a Boolean search on the candidate. After all, it's my responsibility to do my due diligence on behalf of the client and vet the candidates that I deem a good fit for a role, not just in terms of skillsets but culture fit as well. I usually glean a lot more from what I find on social media platforms than I do from a best-foot-forward interview and reference checks. 


Comment by Bill Schultz on March 14, 2012 at 7:23pm

I love this for the meet the parents pic.  Reppler is a scary company as is Rapleaf.  My advice is to opt out.  

Comment by Raphael Fang on March 15, 2012 at 11:39am

would anyone consider to interview candidates with the privacy setting to prevent other people from view them?  Also there are people who don't use their real name on facebook and would you think that they have something to hide?

Comment by james nathan on March 15, 2012 at 3:25pm
I guess we will have to differ then. I used this image because it is a nice representation. There are a very many studies like this, all current which say the same thing and the numbers are roughly equivalent. Like what you think of reppler, but the data is correct.

If a person makes their personal details open on the Internet for all to see, where is the legal issue for a company looking at it? I know I check out all my clients, business partners, candidates and potential employees in every way I can, and my clients all do too. Why wouldn't they?

There are many also recent cases where employers are not allowing offers to be made until a candidate submits their Facebook password before hand.

My point of the post is simple. Use social media in a positive way to build a personal brand and be well aware that what you put on the Internet is open for the world to see and do with as they please


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