Tuesday 25 June 2019

Don't make bad impression on social media, jobseekers told

A simple Google search can turn up a very different picture to the one a candidate wishes to present in a job interview
A simple Google search can turn up a very different picture to the one a candidate wishes to present in a job interview
John Meagher

John Meagher

JOBSEEKERS have been warned to ensure they have a "clean" digital footprint so that prospective employers aren't put off by their behaviour on social media.

Many people, from senior executives to college graduates, fail to appreciate the impact of having drinking stories and embarrassing pictures online.

Employers cannot discriminate against a prospective candidate simply because of embarrassing stories on Twitter or Facebook, but recruitment experts still urge caution.

A simple Google search can turn up a very different picture to the one a candidate wishes to present in a job interview.

"I'm always surprised by the intelligent, very capable people out there who don't realise that their behaviour on social media can have a bearing," said Mairead Fleming, MD of Dublin-based Ascension Executive Recruitment.

"Anybody who thinks that their engagement with social media doesn't matter when it comes to recruitment is badly misguided," she said.

Ms Fleming said social media was no place for drinking stories. "You get people bragging on Twitter and Facebook about how much alcohol they consume and they think nothing of posting pictures of themselves when they're two sheets to the wind.

"Is there any potential employer who would look at that and not be just a tiny bit troubled by it? When the jobs market is as competitive as it is now, why would you want to put yourself at a disadvantage?"

Career management professional Rowan Manahan has also found that many Irish job-hunters don't understand the pitfalls of social media.

"I know of a case where a high-ranking individual was going for a very senior job but didn't get it because his tweets were so misogynistic in nature," said Mr Manahan.

"He was a superb candidate in every other area, but there was no escaping the fact that he had some unpleasant and outdated views on gender.

"Over a sustained period of time, this person gave an insight into his world-view on Twitter and he badly harmed his career chances as a result."

Mr Manahan noted that he has become much more cautious about what he posts on social media. "I'm much more careful about what I tweet than I used to be," he said.

"One of the things that is so appealing about Twitter is how immediate it is and you can get stuff off your chest... but it can look really inappropriate when it's read in isolation."

Meanwhile, recruitment consultant Ken Harbourne has warned LinkedIn users to be professional: "It can be a really good networking tool, but some people don't use it correctly.

"They see it as a grown-up version of Facebook and they post all kinds of nonsense. Even the profile photo can convey the wrong message.

"Rather than a professional shot, they think it's okay to put a camera-phone photo from a night out."

Irish Independent

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