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Your Job Search: Don’t Put A Foot Wrong

Struggling to land the right role?

As anyone who has recruited (or tried to) over the last year will tell you, we’re operating in a candidate-short market. According to the most recent UK Labour Market Overview from the Office for National Statistics, the number of job vacancies in December last year to February this year jumped to 1,318,000; a new record high.

So, with all those opportunities out there, why haven’t you landed your dream role yet? You’ve got the qualifications, the experience and a stonking new haircut. You’ve even researched the company and come up with some original questions and deeply insightful comments. So what’s going wrong?

Has it occurred to you that while you’ve been all over the internet trying to glean as much information as you can about your prospective employer, they’re doing exactly the same to you?

According to Kelsey McKeon’s article from The Manifest, 90% of managers factor a candidate’s social media accounts into their hiring decisions, whilst 79% have rejected a candidate based on what they’ve found there.

With the average time someone spends on social media every day at 142 minutes in 2021, there’s a lot of opportunity for someone to obtain a negative impression of you.

Did you know?

  • 90% of managers factor social media into their hiring decision
  • 79% of managers have rejected a candidate based on their digital footprint
  • The average person spent 142 minutes per day on social media


Watch how you step

‘Digital footprint’ is a term used to describe the trail you leave behind when searching the web or using social media. As explained in Family Lives, there are two types of footprint, passive and active. A passive footprint is when information is collected from the user without them knowing, and an active footprint is where the individual has knowingly shared their information via either websites or social media sites. The latter strongly influences your ‘personal brand’, that is, how others perceive you.

We find ourselves surrounded by an ever-increasing number of social media sites, encouraging us to share information about our lives. Whether it’s retweets on Twitter, likes on Facebook, posting photos on Instagram or creating videos for TikTok, it all reflects on you as a person and can be easily found by current and future employers.

When it comes to the recruitment process, many prospective employers will search for your digital footprint to get an impression of you and your personal brand. Whether it’s a search on Google, a scroll through Instagram or scan through Twitter, this will influence their perception of you and whether you are the right fit for their company. Failing to control your footprint may result in you getting the boot before your foot’s even in the door!

Get your feet on firmer ground

Consider how you want to be seen – Google yourself. The correct public profile will support you, the wrong one will hinder you, which is why it’s vital to stay aware and use it to your advantage. If you are not happy with what you see, take action. If you can’t amend it yourself, you can approach the search engine or platform and ask them to remove the posts or photos. It’s also a good idea to delete any unused social media accounts or make them private, and you should always ensure that your privacy settings are positioned to the strictest level, i.e. only friends and family.

Thanks to social media, we can react in an instant and say things we might later regret, but not until after it’s been screenshot and shared (potentially forever) outside our sphere of control. According to a survey by The Atlantic,  over 80% of people self-censor while on these platforms, due to concerns over privacy.

Social Media and Job Hunting – What To Check

  1. Review all of your social media channel privacy settings. E.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, forums, company websites, etc. 
  2. Do Google your name and see what comes up
  3. Check your social media old posts and remove all negative statements, videos or pictures 
  4. Avoid creating, liking or sharing any content that could be considered ‘controversial’ 
  5. Don’t share misinformation

Most importantly, remember to always #bekind. In this way you can proactively manage your digital footprint and personal brand and it isn’t just determined by your privacy settings. You can therefore effectively manage your footprint to ensure that the prints you leave are good ones. 

One Last Tip

Finally, once you get your dream job, make sure you understand and comply with your employer’s internet and social media policies in case they have specific guidelines. Ask your HR or Marketing Department if you don’t know where to look.

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