When you are in school, websites like Vine, Twitter, and Facebook seem like they are all about fun. It’s never too early to remember to be professional on social media sites and to clean up your accounts. Your future employer could be watching you.
According to a poll released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in April, the majority of employers (77 percent) recruit job candidates via social networking websites. The survey found that the number of organizations using social networking sites to find and communicate with applicants jumped significantly from 2011 (56 percent) and 2008 (34 percent).
Why are employers drawn to social networking sites during the recruitment process? Most of the surveyed employers (80 percent) cited the ability to recruit passive job applicants who might not otherwise apply. Other top reasons include the ability to target job candidates with specific skill sets (69 percent) and increasing employer branding and recognition (67 percent).
The survey − “Social Networking Websites and Recruiting/Selection” − also discovered that LinkedIn is the most popular website (94 percent) used by HR professionals for recruiting. Other top social networking sites for recruiting are Facebook (54 percent), Twitter (39 percent) and professional or association social networking sites (29 percent).
“Social media is changing how HR professionals do their jobs, most dramatically in recruiting,” said Alexander Alonso, SHRM’s vice president of research. “SHRM’s research shows that HR professionals are using social media mainly as a recruitment tool with four out of five saying its ability to recruit candidates who might not normally apply as a chief reason for their use.”
What can we learn from this survey? The most important lesson seems to be that it is never too early to act professionally online. If you really want to let loose with friends, lock down your accounts, but realize that others may be able to access your account unknowingly. Before I post anything, I think, “Will this embarrass my kids if they saw it or me in a few years?”