5 Common Social Media Mistakes that Candidates Make

Looking for a job in London nowadays is more akin to playing a game of “Frogger” than simply sending your CV to a vacancy. There are obstacles you must navigate before you even start applying for a job these days.

Most job-seekers have more than one social account with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn being the main ones. In today’s era, you should EXPECT a future employer to do their research on you by looking at your profile on all social sites. These are sometimes done pre-first interview and certainly done pre-offer. Why?

Because future employers want to know as much as possible about the person they are employing. Will you fit into the company’s culture? Are you likely to give a good impression to Clients? Are you reliable? Do you have any skeletons in your closet?

So make sure you are careful with how you portray yourself online. Please read on for 5 of the biggest no-no’s!

1) Compromising pictures

Yes, we all have a life outside of work, but photos of nudity, the taking of illegal substances, or legal substances in vast quantities could give off the wrong impression of your extra-curricular activities.

2) Avoid appearing over-opinionated

Employers tend to see it as a positive if potential employees have a view on a certain topic. However, they can easily be put off if they perceive those views to be too radical and/or opinionated. One of the reasons many employers put job seekers through psychometric testing is to try and assimilate how you will fit into the company culture, react to management and to your peers. It is fair to deduce therefore that they will make a judgment call (rightly or wrongly) on anything they see as potentially divisive in your online profiles.

3) Discriminatory Behaviour

Following on from the last point, be careful not to condone anything that can be perceived as discriminatory either, in your posts, or by liking the posts/images/videos of others. Most companies have Equality and Diversity policies in place so will not want to hire anyone who could conflict with this.

4) Inviting people you have just interviewed with to your social profiles

This is a big no-no and you would be surprised how often this happens. Interviewers want to see the “true you” and therefore should make you feel at ease at the start and/or end of an interview. They are being friendly but the majority of the time is not trying to befriend you. Just because you have hit it off with your interview doesn’t mean that you should feel comfortable enough to invite them to be a friend on one of your social profiles. More often than not this will have a negative effect as you will be perceived to have crossed an unwritten boundary.

5) Don’t “slag” off your Boss or ex-work colleagues

It is all too easy to write something negative about a current or previous workplace, but please understand that a future employer will think that if you can write that about another company, then surely you can write the same thing about their company.

If you are posting negatively about work, then do so constructively. A recent example is an employee of a company who was “friends” with the social profiles of a number of her colleagues. When she posted some disparaging comments about them and the business, she lost those friends and the goodwill of that business quickly.

In short, whatever your privacy settings are, understand that your social profiles can and will be reviewed.

There is a debate to be had on whether Employers should actually be allowed to make hiring decisions based on an individual’s profile. As individuals share more and more of their private information online, this debate is only going to get stronger.

It seems to me that the PA recruitment market is one so intertwined that even a PA’s privacy settings are not deterring the mole-like instincts of the enquiring employer!

Author: David Morel is Managing Director of Tiger Recruitment, specializing in Secretarial and PA Jobs.

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