In study after study, we’ve seen that digital natives are much more comfortable with social media networking than those in older age groups and that Millennials have become “tethered” to the devices providing them with 24/7 virtual connectivity.
Meanwhile, other research has shown that employers are increasingly turning to social media when determining whether or not to hire a specific applicant.
So, here’s the question:
Could these two trends be heading towards a “social media cliff,” of sorts, a combination of factors with the potential to seriously backfire on tech-savvy young people?
The answer is unequivocally “yes,” according to a new study conducted by AVG Technologies.
As younger generations use social networks to share and bare more and more about themselves, employers are mining those same networks for background information on job applicants, leaving many young job seekers at risk of unwittingly disqualifying themselves from choice positions.
The study canvassed 230 human resource professionals in the U.S. and United Kingdom, as well as 4,400 adults aged 18-25. The research showed that companies are becoming increasingly adept at tracking down background information regarding prospective employees online, while at the same time, an incredibly large percentage of young adults are demonstrating a complete lack of judgment when it comes to managing their online reputations. The result? Social media posts are costing young career seekers access to jobs they might otherwise be qualified for.
Take a look at these findings:
- An astonishing 90 percent of young adults admitted that they had never even checked how they appear online, much less managed their virtual reputations, while an equal percentage of employers have accessed unprotected social media accounts to vet job candidates.
- Although more than 70 percent of recruiters use LinkedIn to conduct searches for potential candidates, only one in three reported that they completely find LinkedIn profiles to be completely accurate.
- In the UK, 85 percent of HR professionals have researched job candidates on Facebook, and about half (47 percent) have done so via Twitter.
- US recruiters had more stringent standards than their colleagues in the UK when using extra-curricular activity criteria found online to disqualify candidates. 91 percent have ruled out applicants who had posted nude photos of themselves, and 84 percent eliminated those who appeared in drunken pictures, as opposed to UK recruiters at 70 and 75 percent respectively.
That said, nearly two-thirds of the HR professionals surveyed also said they’d been positively influenced by the online image some applicants exhibited. In addition, 65 percent of those polled also view the content they find online about a candidate as very important.
According to Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist for AVG Technologies, this study shows that the internet, and social networks in particular, has changed the way that HR professionals approach the recruitment process. “Nowadays, online content posted about, or by a candidate, has become the modern day equivalent of a first interview,” he concluded.