If you thought only your friends and followers go through your Facebook and Twitter pages, think again. Recruiters routinely scan your profiles and, if interested, an updated, well-maintained profile could be instrumental in landing you the perfect job. For some time now, recruiters have trawled potential candidates’ professional sites like LinkedIn, either to tap passive talent or as a background check.
Now, however, they are peeking at social networking accounts to judge a candidate’s background and form a more rounded opinion about him. In many ways, it serves as an extension of your resume. Says Ronesh Puri, managing director, Executive Access, a head hunting company: “The company is sure to exercise due diligence before hiring a candidate, but a well-written profile is a good indicator of the kind of person you are.”
Under the scanner
When recruiters scan your online profiles, they are looking for proof that you will fit into the company culture. “If articles related to your field of interest are posted on, say, Twitter, it would indicate that you are in tune with the events and developments happening around you. However, posting frivolous and irrelevant tweets would not speak highly of you,” says Yashwant Mahadik, vice-president and head of human resources,Philips IndiaBSE -1.83 %.
According to experts, recruiters also give brownie points to memberships and affiliations with professional organisations on your profile. Who you know also matters, so be careful about the names on your friend list. Facebook is used relatively less than LinkedInwhen it comes to reviewing a candidate, but it is not unheard of. “Not all companies are hassled about you getting drunk during your nonworking hours, but some employers are concerned about the background of the person they hire, which can be checked through Facebook,” says Mahadik.
Everybody understands that it is a personal networking site, so the occasional party revelry snap will not kill your employment chances. However, repeated posts and pictures projecting you in an unfavourable light are sure to be viewed negatively. Some other red flags include posts of a sexual nature, political and politically incorrect rants, and negative comments about your current job.
Make your profile count
To begin with, choose your profile photograph carefully. Since your details will be viewed by recruiters, you should project a professional look, which is possible only if you are dressed formally.
“You may or may not wear a tie, but you definitely cannot have a photo of you lounging in tees and shorts on the beach,” says Puri.
A group photo as your display picture is also not a good idea. However, don’t rely on a great picture to divert focus from your qualifications and work experience.
Says E Balaji, managing director and CEO of Ma Foi Randstad, India: “Since social networking sites have become one of the channels to seek candidates, it is best to have an updated profile ready.”