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How Important is a Candidate's Online Presence?

Back in 2011, Forbes predicted that by 2021 the CV would be replaced by a person’s online presence. Fast-forward five years and their prediction has already come true. According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, up to 60% of recruiters and hiring managers will do an online search before they invite someone for an interview.

The survey provides some interesting results, but the most common is that no matter what industry someone is applying to, they need to have some sort of online presence if they want to get that job.

Would you put forward a candidate if you Googled them and got nothing back?

Candidate Online Presence.pngNo matter what people are looking for; be it a car, a restaurant, or a job, the first place anyone is likely to search for information is online. If you had a CV from a candidate that sounded perfect for a role and you Googled them and got nothing in return, would you still be as interested in them? The truth is, probably not. Nowadays, most people are going to have some kind of digital footprint even if it’s only a personal Facebook account. If they don’t? It should raise doubts.

Although the survey from Career Builder shows that industries such as IT and Sales and Marketing are where recruiters are most likely to do online checks, they’ll still do some online research for other sectors too. Even industries such as retail and manufacturing are doing online checks on potential employees and if they find nothing or worse something insulting or offensive they are unlikely to invite them to an interview.

Has the CV been replaced by a candidate's online presence?

The CV will always be important; it lets employers know where a person has worked previously, their education, and their skill level. It is the first interaction you will have with a candidate and the first step in the recruitment process but the CV is no longer enough on its own. Employers want to know more than just where a person has worked and what skills they have; they also want to know if they would be a good fit for their company’s culture. The best way to find this out prior to an interview is to do a quick check on Google and see what the results are. 

A CV is a chance for people to TELL you what skills they have, an online search can SHOW you if they do actually have these skills. Anyone can say they have experience in digital marketing for example on their CV but if they have no online presence such as a blog, or website they probably aren’t the best fit for the job.

How important is social media for recruiters?

In 2016, social media has grown and now 60% of the population have a Facebook account and 15 million people actively use LinkedIn. Social media is a great free tool used by recruiters to both source and research potential candidates.

Social media accounts can give you an idea of a candidate’s personality, career goals, values and lifestyle. It can also help you match what they have said they can do on their CV. For example, if someone is applying for a job in communications and their CV says they are an excellent communicator, does this come across in their social media posts? If someone has said they are a thought leader in their industry, do they have an active LinkedIn account that shows this? If their social media does not match what they have on their CV, it can save you from putting forward the wrong candidate, saving time and of course costs too.

Doing an online search does, of course, have its problems. It is easy to incorrectly judge a person from their social media posts as we all have our own beliefs and biases.  So, the one thing to remember when doing a search via social media on a candidate is that you are trying to see if they are a good fit for the role they have applied for not if you personally like them or not.

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About the Author: Jenna is a freelance writer and journalist. When she's not at the keyboard Jenna likes to follow politics and current affairs and loves a good debate!

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