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Looking for a job? Here’s why you need to update your social media! (and how)

. 6 min read . Written by Vanshika Goenka
Looking for a job? Here’s why you need to update your social media! (and how)

Back when ordering food was a celebration and not a scary reminder of our vulnerability to a virus, I remember having a particularly bizarre call with a restaurant receptionist.

I was dictating my address for assisting the delivery personnel homewards when he said, “We already have your address.” This was a restaurant which I had never ordered from before.

Privacy is dead. We’ve all seen that with Zoom, ever since it went from a random video call app to the Messiah of early lockdown days. This led me to wonder about how transparency on the internet works in situations where we’d rather choose to live in opaqueness.

Exhibit A: job interviews.

Hiring and recruiting is especially complicated in times of COVID 19. Remote interviews are make it difficult to evaluate a #vibecheck. The person on the other side of the screen is simply an image of the person one hopes can be the right fit for their company. So how does a recruiter manage to make up for things like lost body language, and the ‘feeling’ of whether a person is a right fit or not?

Answer: By checking your vibes on social media.

Your potential employer is looking at more than just your LinkedIn

You might have an immensely professional looking LinkedIn profile with an enticing white-collar description and a structured outline of all the work you have ever accomplished in your lifetime. But trust me, that’s not the only place where they’re looking for you.

LinkedIn has managed to establish itself as a competitive marketplace for jobs but this is precisely why recruiters have started looking elsewhere for a more accurate and holistic picture aka your other social media platforms.

Your professional qualifications are not enough for the purposes of retrieving this holistic picture.

Especially considering that recruiters might have to sort through all the #coronamemes to get to you.

So what are they looking for?

In a nutshell, you. The ‘you’ that is more than just your qualifications and your LinkedIn profile. The ‘you’ that nonchalantly posts pictures of your vacations, your social life and memes, of course.

Statistically, research suggests that the need to ‘stalk’ your potential candidate stems from a place to largely find out three aspects –

  1. 82% of recruiters are out for a grammar check: they’re interested in the potential employee’s articulation and grammatical skills
  2. Around 59% engage in ‘stalking’ for a spell check: they’re interested in finding out the candidate’s adeptness at spellings.
  3. And over 32% are lurking for inappropriate content: things such as drug referencing, posting NSFW images/content, etc.

But why?

Glad you asked. Ideally, a resume, or a LinkedIn profile for that matter, helps them determine your professional qualifications and accomplishments. But a social media presence helps them decipher your personality and if you’d be a good fit into their company’s culture and values.

A social media presence gives several clues to a person’s personality, views, political and social standing, and various other things to anybody who will observe (or stalk as we call it).

Remember Netflix’s ‘You’? Think of your recruiter like a nicer Joe. Someone who likes you and wouldn’t want to murder you. Well, at least not until you start working for them.

In addition to this, it’s also fishing for some NSFW risqué stuff like explicit photos, bad language, bad mouthing ex-coworkers or bosses, criminal charges,

And where?

Research suggests that the ‘About Me’ section on your Facebook page is of particular interest to your potential employers. What is interesting to see here, is the discrepancy in the way you have described yourself in your resume as opposed to on your social media -a place where you’re expected to have your guard down. So there are easy brownie points if your personal description matches the tone  of your professional one.

Pro tip: Don’t shy away from writing lengthy passionate descriptions about how great you really are at your job, and otherwise.

Twitter, on the other hand sets its expectations in terms of the kind of pages and people you’re following and the kinds that you attract. This is probably where they’d be scouring for mutual interests, social and political views. Speaking of which, your past twitter threads too can be of use here. Your tweet history bears evidence to your general trend of online behaviour and activity –

  • Are you posting about things that matter?
  • Are you taking a stand that matches with the company’s values?
  • Do you have a voice that can be a good fit for the company culture ?
  • Or are you just here to add to the digital callout culture and rage armchair intellectual fights?
Pro tip: Post about things that are relevant, and current. Since the recruiters are all about looking out for a personality, there’s nothing better than opinions and relevance to satiate their curiosities about your personality.

And finally, Instagram is where the whole lifestyle and culture contemplation comes into play. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and your recruiters not only have unconditional faith in this, but also act on it. Your Instagram profile can give a rather unfiltered clue to your lifestyle, your personal values and your voice. All of this helps the recruiter decide on that ‘right for the company’ idea. It can also give a dekko into your special talents, skills and interests, which could work to your advantage

Pro tip: Treat Instagram like the canvas for your personality that it’s supposed to be.

So what should you post?

Having said that however, this in no way implies that you curate your social media feed in the manner you think your potential employer deems fit. You don’t wanna be perceived as a robot either.

Remember, when recruiters do take to social media their intent is to gauge your personality. So don’t lose sight of that in trying to create a picture perfect social media. Treat social media like the canvas for personal expression that it’s supposed to be.

It’s the person that you are behind the various designations and qualifications that represent you.

So don’t let the possibility of a recruiter lurking on your profile stop you from posting those vacation pictures, or showcasing your sense of humour and sharing cat videos or doggo memes. Don’t hide away your personality in the pursuit of landing a job. Your recruiter would much rather see ‘you’ than the ‘you’ that’s harping or posting about your dream company’s values or reposting their content or even posting things that only supposedly align with the company culture.

But what shouldn’t you post?

  • Anything without a vocab check: Ensure the use of proper grammar, spellings and punctuations. Vocabulary can really throw people off and if a recruiter comes across a “mah lyf mah rulzz” kinda post then that is bound to work against you.
  • Posts bad-mouthing your job, or your ex-boss and coworkers. This doesn’t give a favourable impression, no matter how right you think you are or how annoying your coworkers truly were. And if you absolutely must, just disguise your opinions in memes and go for it.
  • Twitter battles
  • Very strong political views, empathetically expressed
  • Bad reviews on google
  • Silly comments on Quora
  • Anything you posted just for cheap thrills, like trolling someone.

Apart from this, there’s the obvious quest of trying to find out if you’re a law-abiding person, inappropriate referencing to drugs, the use of bad language, etc.

But tbh, it shouldn’t have to be a job hunt to stop you from posting all this.

And if you’re in doubt about how a post might hurt your job prospects, think about a historical or a controversial social media post. Consider the first impression it would give a stranger. And think about how the standard of a recruiter would most certainly be higher than that.

With the whole world having moved on the virtual, it’s become more important than ever to monitor the kind of voice and representation we’re putting for ourselves out there. Since the real is impossible to currently live on, the virtual is the new real.