Quarter of job candidates ‘stalk’ their interviewer’s social media

Half of all job candidates use social media for interview prep, including stalking their interviews social media profiles, research finds.

Job-hunters are frequently warned about the potential ill-effects of social media upon job applications, but new research by online marketing specialists, Digimax, reveals that it goes both ways, with 22 per cent of job candidates confessing to checking out their interviewers on social media.

While it’s hardly surprising to learn that 68 per cent of people looking for work now utilise social media to find vacancies, with LinkedIn being the favourite social media recruitment method, candidates are also using social sites to prepare before their interviews, with almost a quarter (24 per cent) using social media sites to find common interests to discuss and curry favour during interviews. A further 18 per cent say that they use social media to check out the interviewer’s work background, while almost half (48 per cent) use it for general interview prep.

The worst culprits for pre-interview social media stalking are women, with 61 per cent of those admitting to the practice being female. Employers do seem to be making it easy for them however, with 21 per cent saying that they can’t remember the last time they checked or adjusted privacy settings on their social accounts.

Candidates appear to be a little more canny when it comes to privacy, with 47 per cent saying that they regularly check their privacy settings, and 15 per cent even temporarily deactivating their Facebook account when on the hunt for a new job. A further 17 per cent of candidates say that they have regretted a post and removed it for job hunt related reasons… This is probably just as well, given that three quarters (73 per cent) of employers search applicant’s social media accounts prior to either interviews or job offers.

What are employers looking for when browsing candidate’s social media?

The vast majority (82 per cent) are interested in their candidate’s ability to correctly use grammar
More than half of employers (59 per cent) check on candidate’s spelling prowess
Only a third (32 per cent) look for inappropriate content, such as drug references

Shaz Memon, creative director of Digimax comments, ‘It’s interesting to see all the different ways in which social media is now being used in and around employment practices. Not so long ago, Facebook and Twitter were only really considered tools for employers looking to get the low-down on their candidates, but now the tables are turning.

‘It’s really encouraging to see that people are learning lessons and protecting themselves against potential discrimination by ensuring that their privacy settings are up to scratch. Now, it seems, that employers need to do the same!’

Further reading on social media

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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