Your digital footprints can make or break your career


Your online profile and what you post on social media is of interest to your present and future/potential employers.

Be very careful of what you share or post on social media. You are being watched, monitored and also judged on the basis of your social-media profile, not just by your friends but by your current and prospective employers as well.

And if you think, it is better to not have a social-media profile at all, you are wrong. In the absence of a social-media profile, you will be treated as anonymous, which makes it less likely for you to be called for an interview.

If you believe that your deleted posts will not be visible, you should know that it’s hard to erase your digital footprints, and employers today use deep scan to find out all about a prospective candidate.

According to a recent study by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 70 per cent of employers use social-networking sites to research on job candidates. Out of these, 57 per cent have decided against hiring a candidate based on what they had posted on social media. 66 per cent of employers have used search engines to conduct their research on potential job candidates.

It is not just your posts, employers also evaluate you on what others are posting about you or on your page—34 per cent of respondents have agreed to have done that.

The trend of scanning social-media profiles of potential hires is more frequent in IT companies (74 per cent) followed by manufacturing (73 per cent) and in comparison less by retail/non-retail sales (59 per cent).

Nearly half of the employers (47 per cent) say that if they can’t find the candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for an interview. 28 per cent say that is because they like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview; 20 per cent say they expect candidates to have an online presence.

Here are the top reasons why candidates are rejected or hired post evaluation of their social-media profiles.

Reasons for rejection

Candidates are rejected if they are found to have:

1. posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 40 per cent,

2. posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 36 per cent;

3. made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 31 percent;

4. links with criminals or criminal behaviour: 30 per cent;

5. lied about qualifications: 27 percent;

6. poor communication skills: 27 percent,

7. bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 25 per cent;

8. an unprofessional screen name: 22 per cent;

9. shared confidential information from previous employers: 20 per cent;

10. posted too frequently: 12 per cent

Reasons for selection

Candidates are often selected for a job if:

1. their background information supports their professional qualifications for the job: 37 per cent;

2. they are creative: 34 per cent;

3. their site conveys a professional image: 33 per cent;

4. they are well-rounded, and show a wide range of interests: 31 per cent;

5. they possess a good personality, and appear to be a good fit within the company culture: 31 per cent;

6. possess great communication skills: 28 per cent;

7. have received awards and accolades: 26 percent;

8. other people have posted great references about the job candidate: 23 per cent;

9. they have interacted with the company’s social-media accounts: 22 per cent;

10. they post compelling videos or other content: 21 per cent;

11. they have a large number of followers or subscribers: 18 per cent

It isn’t over yet

If you are thinking that your employer will stop monitoring you after you have been hired, you are mistaken. Research reveals that 48 per cent of employers continue to scan social-media profiles of employees and 10 per cent of them do it every day! Around 34 per cent of them have found content online that has caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

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