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2/27/2014 10:44:58 AM

Candidates: what does your social media profile say about you?

Do you think twice before updating your Facebook status or Twitter feed?

A new survey published by recruitment specialists,, may give you pause for thought in future.

The survey, conducted by the energy industry employment experts, analysed the head-hunting activities of 7,000 recruitment and HR companies. It found social media channels to be the preferred platforms for recruitment when compared with traditional advertising methods.

The survey found a total of 71% of recruiters had hired people through social media. This provides a stark warning for job seekers to clean up their online personas if they hope to find work. With employers regularly viewing candidates’ social media profiles the emphasis is on personal profiles becoming professional as clearly it’s not sufficient to just have a top-notch CV available online anymore.

A whopping 82% of UK recruiters admitted to looking up candidates’ social media profiles with two-thirds rejecting candidates based on what they learnt about them from their profiles.

LinkedIn was the most popular choice with 88% of companies having used it to advertise jobs. Facebook (25%) and Twitter (8%) were also popular choices. A 2013 report by social media agency, UM, found one-fifth of 18-34 year olds were being recruited in this way.

Employers agreed online job-boards (such as Indeed and Monster) and professional social network, LinkedIn, were the two most important web-based tools for recruitment.

So what’s the attraction of social media for recruitment?
  • 77% stated social media gave them better access to candidates;
  • 33% stated it was the most cost effective method for recruitment;
  • 41% stated it provided a real insight into a candidate’s suitability for a role.
Kevin Forbes, CEO of, stated social media was preferred because it is “faster and cheaper than traditional forms of advertising”.

Between 30-90% of large UK companies now employ social media for recruitment. Businesses perceive one of the major advantages of using social media is that it removes the need to pay for a recruitment agency.

However, using social media for recruitment can be a double-edged sword. As Nadim Choudhury, head of careers at the London School of Business (LSBF), observes “social media is a fantastic tool to use to get employed, but it also has its pitfalls”.

LinkedIn, for example, provides information on a candidate’s existing business network which can help verify their suitability for a particular role. However, whilst providing a useful insight into a candidate’s general background, it is still much like a CV in that it is self-generated and can be manipulated by hyperbole and ‘biz-speak’.

In addition choosing social media over a recruitment agency means an inexperienced business may fail to undertake the rigorous assessment of a candidate’s personal skills and aptitude; something which is part and parcel of any worth-its-salt recruitment process.Employing an unsuitable candidate could not only prove a costly mistake in the long-run but could also severely damage a company’s reputation – both of which could be avoided by leaving it to the experts.

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