Employers stalking applicants online: justified or creepy?

Employers stalking applicants online: justified or creepy?

If you’re under 35, you don’t go online. You are online.

Only millennial elders (eighties babies) who still remember the sound of a modem (like Skrillex sampling airplane noises) still have some recollection of what life was like when the dumb things you did with your friends only stayed in your memories until you did more dumb stuff and forgot about it.

Well, that’s obviously a different story now. There’s a downside to your social media presence that dwarfs the times your mother tags you in your pudgy NSFW baby pictures. Your social media profiles could cost you a job opportunity. Dun dun dunnnnnnn.




Here’s what Hirehunt’s writer Nevine Khaled found out.

Hiring managers, more than HR Managers, look into social media profiles before or after an interview with a potential candidate. We asked, firsthand, what some managers thought about the influence of social media has on their hiring decisions and here is what they had to say.

What are they looking for?

“When first receiving a CV, employers would almost immediately check their Facebook profiles to get a bit of an insight on an interviewee’s personality, such as interests, beliefs, and opinions,” said Ohoud Saad, Founder of Bindu.

“I haven’t actually done it, but I’ve seen it done. Before Bindu, I worked at several small and medium-sized companies that were partly interested in the personal interests of a candidate being interviewed. Smaller companies, unlike major corporations, find this a make-or-break issue, worrying that a misstep could lead to the change of the atmosphere and ‘feeling’ of the space,” according to Ohoud.

“LinkedIn,” according to Omar Shoeb, Nile Radio Production Digital Director, “is a primary source to get a better understanding of who the candidate is and what his professional network looks like. Facebook and Twitter are also looked through but not really factored in the judgment process.”

“Employers should understand that in this day and age people can have multiple personalities and they might use social media for self-branding purposes,” he concluded.

Dalia Lotfy, Digital Marketing Supervisor at Yellow Media explained that there’s a professional objective to looking at a candidate’s social media activity. “Professionally, my first stop is always Linkedin because all of their qualifications and certificates are accessible in one place. Also, in my field, I have to see examples of their previous work through the campaigns or the Facebook pages they have handled.”

“On the other hand, I also prefer to look at their Facebook profile to get a feeling of a person’s attitude, whether positive or negative; this way I could judge on the attitude they will bring into the team.”

So is it a bit creepy? Yes it is. But when employers only get applications by CV, it’s understandable that they would want to cut through the buzzwords and get to the personality behind the copy-paste-clichés.

Whether an employer will take what they see on your social media pages into consideration or not differs from one case to another, but definitely keep in mind there might be someone looking at your parallel life every time you’re about to be employed. It also depends on the career you’re pursuing. A wacky, creative video might help your case if you’re in a creative field for instance, but maybe it won’t be as appreciated if you’re trying to land a job in the financial or legal industries. For all you know, what happens on social media, once you make it public, doesn’t stay on social media. Good luck!

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