VANCOUVER — In a recent Workopolis survey of 600 companies across Canada, 93% of employers reported that they screen potential job candidates online before making a hiring decision.
“If you do a questionnaire or just ask someone, they can just give you an answer that they think you want,” Peter Harris, editor-in-chief of Workopolis, said. “Social media profiles are a most accurate perspective of what people are really like.”
The most common things employers screen for are consistency, credibility and cultural fit.
He said employers cross-reference résumés with LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to see if the titles and dates match up. Inconsistencies in public profiles are a red flag that the candidate cannot be trusted.
If a candidate claims to be an industry-savvy and positive individual, employers also expect to see an online footprint that supports this.
“They like to see that a candidate is creative … reading, writing, sharing things about your industry,” Harris said. What they don’t like to find is someone complaining about their current job with status updates like “back to the 9-5 grind.”
The survey found 38% reported that they had been swayed towards hiring a candidate after reviewing their online profiles.
For example, one respondent reported that discovering a candidate had run a marathon influenced her decision to hire because she links athletic accomplishments with traits like perseverance and commitment.
Others were influenced to hire based on online evidence of a candidate’s community involvement and charity work because this showed a good fit with their company culture.
Without knowing the personal biases of potential employers, job seekers may be tempted to scrap their online profiles entirely to avoid a potential misstep.
But Harris said “a red flag that some employers see is when they don’t find someone at all.”