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Social media Opens Doors For Employers To Screen Applicants

Interviews

There was a time when applicants existed to employers merely as their CV, references and how they chose to present themselves at interview. In a 2011 survey conducted of 300 recruiters, Reppler found that 91% of employers use social media to screen applicants

There was a time when applicants existed to employers merely as their CV, references and how they chose to present themselves at interview. Cyberspace has allowed employers to construct a more detailed picture of their candidates, as social media sites have allowed your prospective employers to take a peek at your non-professional life. One's out of work weekend raver persona or unhealthy obsession with One Direction is information that can now quite easily fall into the wrong hands, depending on what you reveal about yourself on the web.

The way in which one presents themselves online has become so important that social media monitoring service, Reppler, has been set up. In a 2011 survey conducted of 300 recruiters, Reppler found that 91% of employers use social media to screen applicants, and 69% have rejected a candidate based on what they have found. Inappropriate photographs, slagging off of colleagues/former bosses and use of offensive language are all likely to put off employers. Social networking sites also make it easier for prospective employers to fill in unexplained gaps in your employment history. However, before you go frantically deleting any traces of yourself from cyber space, keep in mind that 68% of the respondents hired someone they had screened online, and of those 39% did it because of what they saw on a social media site.

Social media sites can improve your chances of employability, as long as you remain cyber savvy. Twitter provides a fantastic opportunity to build a network in your industry. It increases your visibility and shows how interested people are in what you have to say. So long as you don't fall into the trap of getting into an online slanging match with anyone.

Facebook, when used appropriately, can also be a way of impressing employers. It can reveal strong communication skills and by selecting which pages you 'like' you can impress employers with interests that may be of relevance to your chosen industry. This does not mean Facebook has to become another version of LinkedIn, a social networking site exclusively for professionals. Evidence of a healthy social life can help employers envisage you as part of their team and helps you to appear friendly and approachable. However, still be careful about what pictures are available of you, as pictures of you passed out at a bus stop may be hilarious at the time, but may not give a great impression to employers of what you get up to in your private life. Also, be wary of what time of day you are Facebook active. If your CV suggests your currently work during the daytime, your prospective employer may be a bit thrown off if you appear to spend most of you days commenting on your mate's holiday snaps.
mona tabbara grb author

Mona studied English at the University of Bristol.

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