The rumors are true: HR managers do look over your social media pages before making a final decision on your hiring. So to find out what exactly hiring managers are looking for on social media, we spoke with Jenna Richardson, an HR Manager at Infobase Holdings (Vault’s parent company). Jenna, who has several years of HR experience, shared her expertise to give us a deeper look into how hiring managers use social media during the hiring process. Here are four takeaways from our conversation.
1. Be prepared for HR to check LinkedIn, and maybe Facebook and Instagram, too
According to Jenna, “If we decide to move forward with a candidate, we usually check LinkedIn and, on occasion, Facebook and Instagram—although many people choose to keep a private profile nowadays.” She adds, “I mostly check to see if they’re a good fit for the company by getting a glimpse into their interests. I think social media is a tool that can be used to HIRE people and not to necessarily find reasons NOT to hire someone.”
2. Highlight your volunteering activities on social media
Some great things Jenna has found on social media include “people’s involvement in their communities and certain organizations, and people promoting their current employers by attending events or being involved in activities.” Jenna explains, “Volunteering is a huge plus for me. I love seeing candidates give back to their communities. Social media can expose you to people’s creativity and/or personal interests that may be of benefit when joining your organization.”
3. Don’t vent on social media
Jenna also mentioned the red flags all job seekers should be aware of—speaking or posting ill of your former employer and/or coworkers on any social media platform. After a long work, it can be enticing to grab onto your phone and tweet out your frustrations into the world. However, regardless of your privacy settings, you do not want to risk anyone hearing of or coming across any of your negative postings, especially with all the technology installed today to unravel any mentions of companies, specific names, etc. And of course, you should absolutely eliminate any provocative, discriminatory postings or commentary.
4. It’s okay to be “private”
When we asked Jenna about private social media pages and if it may suggest something negative about the candidate—in other words, if they are “hiding” something—her response was: “Being absolutely private on social media is not a bad thing. In fact, some things should be private. It does also depend on the industry or role that you’re in. Some industries require their candidates to have a strong social media presence, and in other industries, it may not be relevant.”
So, ultimately, it depends on the industry you’re trying to break into. First, assess the stance of your industry on social media. Then, evaluate your social media pages as thoughtfully as you would examine your resume and cover letter. If your online persona is a huge determinant in your industry, then being public and engaged on social media may be the way to go. But if social media is not going to add value to your job search, then putting it on private could be best.
Heidy Abdel Kerim is Vault's Marketing Associate. You can find her sharing Vault's latest career articles, job and internship search tips, and motivational content on Vault's Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts.
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