Do recruiters use social media to check on candidates?

Do you think about what you post on your social media accounts? If you’re looking for a job then you should!

Recent research by CareerBuilder found that around 60% of recruiters in the US use social media to garner more information about a candidate. We imagine it’s a similar story here in the UK, though we’ll leave it to you to guess whether we are in the 60% ourselves!

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Do recruiters use social media

The truth is that it is irrelevant whether you think it’s ethical for a recruiter to check out your personal social media feeds because it goes on regardless. It is part of a recruiter’s job to make sure their client is getting the best possible candidates for consideration. If you’re actively looking for a job, then you need to be careful what you post.

You may think that no-one really looks at your social media postings but once you cross the line and post something, it’s no longer a secret. Whether you have 1 follower, or 1 million, the content is there for all to see. Let’s hope Gary Lineker doesn’t regret this tweet from earlier this month.


Whether or not Gary is right or wrong in his early assessment of Leicester City’s likely league finishing position, it would take a very brave man to go back on this promise, especially as it’s been retweeted over 33,000 times, taking the reach of this lone tweet into the millions. OK, Gary is a very famous seller of crisps and will inevitably attract attention, but when you’re looking for a job, you’re trying to catch the attention of potential employers and those tasked with working on their behalf. Probably best to not give off a bad impression of yourself.

To make a bad impression of yourself, according to the research, you should use bad language, use inappropriate or provocative photos, show yourself up as a racist or bigot, bad-mouth your current or former employers, or show general poor communication skills.

To create a good impression, you should use a professional photograph, share updates which support the skills you claim to have, and have good communication skills.

It’s not a good idea to stay off social media altogether either – around 40% of employers say that lack of digital presence is off-putting. Maybe in this age of almost everyone using social media, it looks suspicious if you don’t.

So what can you do? First of all, look at all your social media accounts and put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. Is there anything in there which would make a recruiter think twice before recommending you to an employer?

Then improve your accounts. Can you add positive stories to your accounts which reinforce your professional image? Can you replace your dodgy profile pic with something more professional, for example.

Going forward, employers have been known to use social media to keep a check on employees, so don’t think that the game stops once you’re safely in the job. Be mindful of what you post on social media all of the time – you never know who might be watching!

Why not follow us on social media too?

Make your LinkedIn profile sparkle

Make your LinkedIn profile sparkleOne of the fastest growing social networks over the last couple of years has been LinkedIn. The biggest network for professionals has huge international use and is a brilliant way of networking for business.

One of the disadvantages of LinkedIn is the sheer number of people who use it. If you are using it to find a new job for example, it may take someone a long time and a lot of connections to find you. However, your personal profile is a good way for a potential employer to find out more about you. You need to make your profile sparkle!

Use pictures

They say a picture can paint a thousand words, which is a good enough reason to use them when you’re trying to get your message across in a very short space of time. As well as text, you can fill your profile with images. Use the ‘upload a file’ button to upload images that show who you are and what you can do. Use product shots, or photos of you at work, or a screen shot of your website.

Your profile picture needs to reflect the image for the job you want. Professional photos don’t have to be sterile head shots but you need to steer away from anything that can be deemed undesirable. Have a look at other people’s profile photos to get some ideas.

You don’t have to hire a photographer for your photo. You can get some perfectly good quality photos with an iPhone. Quality doesn’t have to mean extra expense, though if you’re not confident, professional photos can be a very worthwhile investment.

Use video

Video is a fantastic way of getting people to stay on your profile longer with minimal effort on their part. You can link from your profile to a third-party host such as YouTube.

Create an introductory video. Say hello and sell yourself. Less than a minute is ideal. Again, video can be created on the devices you already own, and you can edit them if you want using free software such as Windows Movie Maker.

As an alternative to a video, you can make a slide-show. Avoid Powerpoint as it doesn’t work on LinkedIn – use a third-party site like SlideShare or Prezi instead. Not many people have slide-shows on their profile, so this is a way of gaining that important edge over job-seeking rivals.

Be recommended

Endorsements are nice but recommendations are better. They are richer and take more effort which means they are more valuable. Ask your colleagues and friends to write a recommendation for you, and you can do the same for them.

Take advantage of links

If you’ve got something you’re proud of, make sure you add it to your projects section and hyperlink it. By linking your project sited elsewhere to your profile, you have optimised the chances of your prospective employer taking a good look at it and loving your work! Check your links work regularly.

Get yourself out there

The best advice for getting yourself spotted on LinkedIn is to join in. Join groups connected to your area of expertise and contribute to the conversation. Active group members get their profile looked at significantly more than non-contributors, and you never know who’s lurking in there. It might be your next client or employer. Good luck!

To start you off, we have a LinkedIn group for leisure recruitment chat. Please come and join in the conversation.