It likely begins before you even know it, through a simple online search to check out your presence. Essentially, you’re being “interviewed” online through your social networks — before the background check, before the phone call and before you have any sort of conversation with a potential employer.
So, how can you nail this new sort of social job interview? Let’s explore.
What Are Employers Looking For?
According to recent studies, 92% of employers are using or planning to use social networking for recruiting. So, with the majority of employers likely conducting a social job interview, it’s a good idea to understand what they are looking for. Some employers want to be sure you are a creative thinker, have initiative and can multitask. Others may expect you to have a bounty of experience listed on your social networks. It just depends on the organization.
Do your research and find out what the employer is looking for. For example, if the job description says you to need at least three years of work experience, make it clear that you match these requirements. This can be done by either listing out your work history or creating a bio that indicates what you’ve done in the past. This helps the employer identify why you’re worthy of a real interview because your experience is clearly listed.
Change How You Present Yourself Online
While having the right sort of content on your social networks is important, the way you present yourself online is equally important. For instance, if you just post content online without any sort of formal opinion on the subject, the employer may never know your stances on industry issues. Nor will they see your critical thinking skills or expertise in the field. Similarly, if you never update your LinkedIn page or Twitter stream, a potential manager won’t be able to tell what sort of candidate you are, freeing up room for your competition.
Put some personality into your social networks, particularly if the company has a heavy emphasis on company culture. For example, if the organization is known to hire self-starters with a penchant for creativity, make sure you present yourself in this light (if applicable, of course). Any of your social networks could easily showcase these traits. Just be sure this content is consistent so the employer notices during pre-screening.
What You Need to Nix
Posting relevant content and being active is a necessity for your social job interview. But what are some things that are deal breakers? Your old college photos or controversial posts may not fly with some employers, but there are other factors you should think about. For instance, any time you badmouth a previous employer or co-worker, it may reflect poorly on you, not necessarily the situation. In addition, leaning towards one side of an issue when a potential employer is clearly on the other team can also harm your chances.
While you should always be authentic with your online content and with what you post, you should also think about how others will interpret it. If you’ve applied to a position, think about presenting information in a way that will be attractive to the employer.
For example, if there is positive shift in your industry towards a new practice, why not blog about the topic? This not only shows that you’re aware of what’s going on, but that you also have an opinion. Any employer who sees this will understand why you’re an expert in the space, as well as what this expertise can bring to them.
The social job interview may not be something you think about, but it is something you should consider when applying. Understand what the employer is looking for, present yourself online to show your match and clean up your online presence so you’re seen in the right light. When you do so, the social job interview will just be a positive stepping stone to landing the job.