Job-hunters are frequently warned about the potential ill-effects of social media upon job applications, but new research by Digimax, reveals that it goes both ways, with 22% of job candidates confessing to checking out their interviewers on social media.

While it’s hardly surprising to learn that 68% of people looking for work now utilise social media to find vacancies, with LinkedIn being the favourite social media recruitment method, candidates are also using social sites to prepare before their interviews, with almost a quarter (24%) using social media sites to find common interests to discuss and curry favour during interviews. A further 18% say that they use social media to check out the interviewer’s work background, while almost half (48%) use it for general interview prep.

The worst culprits for pre-interview social media stalking are women, with 61% of those admitting to the practice being female. Employers do seem to be making it easy for them however, with 21% saying that they can’t remember the last time they checked or adjusted privacy settings on their social accounts.

Candidates appear to be a little more canny when it comes to privacy, with 47% saying that they regularly check their privacy settings, and 15% even temporarily deactivating their Facebook account when on the hunt for a new job. A further 17% of candidates say that they have regretted a post and removed it for job hunt related reasons…

This is probably just as well, given that three quarters (73%) of employers search applicant’s social media accounts prior to either interviews or job offers. What are employers looking for when browsing candidate’s social media?

  • The vast majority (82%) are interested in their candidate’s ability to correctly use grammar
  • More than half of employers (59%) check on candidate’s spelling prowess
  • Only a third (32%) look for inappropriate content, such as drug references

Shaz Memon of Digimax comments: ‘It’s interesting to see all the different ways in which social media is now being used in and around employment practices. Not so long ago, Facebook and Twitter were only really considered tools for employers looking to get the low-down on their candidates, but now the tables are turning.

‘It’s really encouraging to see that people are learning lessons and protecting themselves against potential discrimination by ensuring that their privacy settings are up to scratch. Now, it seems, that employers need to do the same!’