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Six Social Media Fails Recruiters Need To Warn About

Published: Friday 11th September 2015

All social media icons on a blue background


The sexism row raging this week over one male lawyer’s comments on a fellow, female, lawyer’s looks on LinkedIn is a timely reminder to all recruiters about social media fails.

In the case of the warring barristers neither party has emerged with too much credit but if high-earning, presumably well-educated legal eagles are finding themselves committing gaffes on social media, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Almost everyone has some sort of social media presence these days and as recruiters, you’ll know all about the power of Facebook and LinkedIn – but are you reminding the candidates you’re putting forward for the jobs you need to fill to tone down their Twitter or improve their Instagram.

They need to be aware that inappropriate messages, posts and pictures can hugely affect their job chances. And as the number of people finding new roles via social media increases it’s an issue that should be as important as writing a convincing covering letter or making sure a CV is error-free.

Here are the six most common social media fails to warn your candidates about:


1. Criticising Current Bosses/Colleagues

Big no no! Your candidates may have every right to feel they have been treated unfairly by their current employer or that their colleagues are lazy or useless; they may not even care if their posts can be seen, they’re looking for a new job after all. But point out that to a casual observer it will look like a highly unprofessional case of sour grapes!

2. Posting Cleavage Shots

Yes ladies AND gents. We all might think it’s a bit of fun at the time but imagine how those cheeky (often drunken) shots will look to the potential bosses candidates are hoping to impress in the cold light of day. Inappropriate pictures could lead to their judgment being called into question.

3. Being Tagged

Sometimes it’s someone else who has posted the embarrassing pictures. If people have been tagged in their friends’ pictures on Facebook or Instagram they can get them removed from their timeline. It’s a relatively easy procedure and it’s worth advising people to have a quick review of all the pictures they’re linked to.

4. Ranting or Swearing

As in real life, offensive – and sometimes illegal – comments online really should be avoided yet many people think the anonymity of a Twitter pseudonym protects them. Not so, especially if an account is linked to the same email address being used for job searching.

5. Not Updating LinkedIn Profiles

A LinkedIn profile is likely to be the first port of call for anyone in the business world checking up on a candidate’s social media presence and if it’s not updated it’s going to ring warning bells. It’s really the shop window in which to demonstrate a candidate’s professionalism.

6. Not Engaging

Similarly, dormant accounts or a lack of friends, followers or contacts can be a red flag issue. Nobody needs to have thousands of connections, but a complete lack of engagement could well send a negative signal to potential employers.

In the age of the smartphone, managing social media accounts – and job searches – couldn’t be easier if candidates are given a little advice.

Zoek is a new job search app that can connect candidates with recruiters at the click of a button. If you are a recruiter why not Register Here to let Zoek help you achieve faster, smarter recruitment. Check out Zoek’s news and views too for more tips for recruiters.


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