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Jobseekers beware – be careful what you put out there!

Updated: 01 Mar 2014
Almost one in five jobseekers still believe employers will not look at their social media profile, according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays in Hong Kong.
Of 368 Hong Kong job seekers polled, 19 per cent said they do not alter their social media habits when job searching because employers won’t look at their profiles. But 69 per cent said they change their privacy settings when job searching and the remaining 12 per cent untag pictures and edit content.
“While there are many advantages to using social media as part of your job search, it can also work against you if you are not careful,” says Marc Burrage, Regional Director of Hays in Hong Kong.  
“Most candidates have a social media profile, and when it comes to job hunting it is important you are responsible with it. A growing number of hiring managers believe that such content can give a good insight into a candidate’s character and likely cultural fit with the organisation.
“In such cases, a Facebook profile with a public setting, content on video-sharing sites or on forums or blogs may reveal information that could make an interviewer see you in a different light.  
“That’s why we advise candidates to assume that all publicly available online content could be used as part of the decision making process. Change your privacy settings and be sensible in the content you post online.  But don’t just restrict your focus to pure social sites like Facebook or Twitter - Google your name to make sure all online content is appropriate.
“This will help keep work and social lives separate in the job hunting process, particularly if candidates feel their personal life should remain outside the assessment process.”
Of course, candidates can also use social media to their advantage. According to Marc, “Many candidates are attempting to use the web to enhance a potential employer’s perception of them. For example, by creating a LinkedIn profile and leveraging the network. To do this effectively, a candidate needs to have a clear idea of the role they’re looking for, and find groups related to this particular field.
“Other candidates are showing their passion for their particular specialisation by blogging about latest trends. This can highlight their expertise to a potential employer. 
“While these are sensible steps to take in today’s jobs market, it’s also advisable to remember that social media will not replace the traditional recruitment process. Recruitment is a people industry, and an employer still needs to see a candidate’s CV and meet them face-to-face. So we advise candidates not to neglect writing a solid CV or preparing for an interview in favour of enhancing their online presence.”
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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