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Candidates' social media profiles influence hiring decisions

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Only 48% of Brits are conscious of how their online reputation might look to a potential employer.

Almost six in 10 (56%) employers admit that online profiles influence their hiring decisions, according to research conducted by Monster.co.uk and YouGov.

More than a third (36%) of UK employers told the researchers that they have turned down a candidate based on what they found on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said that they Google a candidate during the hiring process.

Despite this, very few people said that they actively manage their social media footprint. Only 48% of Brits claimed they are conscious of how their online reputation might look to a potential employer.

However, Andy Sumner, managing director for Monster UK & Ireland, suggested that candidates could use their prospective employer’s searching habits to their advantage.

“Many focus on the potential negatives of social media when it comes to job applications, but, while it’s important to manage your profile and think about privacy settings to ensure you’re not oversharing holiday snaps, social media can also be a really powerful tool to build a personal brand and make a candidate really attractive to an employer,” he said.

“More and more employees and employers are looking for a good cultural fit, so often a Google search will tell a recruiter more than a CV can. Candidates should think about what they use each channel for – whether personal or professional – to build a profile for themselves. The same applies to employers. The external employer brand of a business is really significant when attracting talent – so recruiters should think of the image they are projecting as an organisation, as well as spending time using social media to understand their interviewees.”

Separate research from Nominet found that job-hunting graduates are using their digital abilities to profile their skills and accomplishments. Creating an online presence is now a popular way to illustrate a graduate’s experience, with a quarter (25%) creating a personal website aimed at showcasing their abilities to potential employers.

Russell Haworth, CEO of Nominet, explained that the student experience has changed. “Not only is university more expensive, but the job market is highly competitive,” he said. “It’s not enough to tell a future employer why you should get the job – you’ve got to show them.

“Today’s students are taking control of their online identity by setting up websites to set them apart from the competition and creatively showcase to prospective employers their different skills and passions. Young people naturally share their experiences on social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat, now they’re applying that practice to the world of work.”