Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn: Employers look at online profiles

Organisations are recruiting fewer graduates and are increasingly looking to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to decide who gets the job, according to a new survey.

An annual snapshot of the graduate outlook by Graduate Careers Australia found 36.5 per cent of surveyed employers looked at a candidate's social media profile as part of their recruiting processes last year.

Of these, 46 per cent said what they found on social media had no influence on their final recruitment decision but 44 per cent said they gained insight into a candidate's personality, character and cultural fit. A further 10 per cent gleaned insight in the candidate's networking skills.

Martin Smith, Director at UOW Careers Central, said the importance of social media in recruitment had come under growing scrutiny in recent years.

Careers Central hosts regular conferences where students are taught to think about their digital presence and professional branding.

Increasingly, the University of Wollongong is pushing students towards LinkedIn - regarded as the most effective social media sphere for graduate recruitment.

"Facebook might be what you use when you enter university but you need to leave university on LinkedIn," Mr Smith said.

"It's absolutely critical they've locked down all the privacy settings on their Facebook page, and they present their professional profile through LinkedIn."

The Careers Australia report found promotion of graduate roles on social media websites grew from 31 to 49 per cent between 2012 and 2013. In the same period, use of online graduate recruitment directors jumped from 28 per cent to 40 per cent.

Promotion on Facebook declined in most industries while LinkedIn was the most preferred platform in the construction/mining engineering, manufacturing and communication/technology/utilities industries.

WHAT EMPLOYERS SAID 

Only 22per cent in the construction/mining and engineering industries, and only 29per cent in government/defence and health looked at a candidate’s social media profile for graduate jobs. Social media profiles were of most interest in the communications/technology/utilities sectors, at almost 64per cent.

More than 19per cent did not recruit a graduate in 2013 – up from 12.5per cent in 2012 and the highest number on record since the survey began in 2005. 

More than one-fifth would have employed more graduates if appropriate candidates had been available. 

More than one-third cited economic conditions as the key issue affecting the number of graduates they recruited, followed by budgetary conditions, the quality, experience and skill of graduates and ability to provide internal support. 

33per cent had difficulty sourcing graduates.

18.5per cent recruited international graduates, down from 23per cent in 2012. 

83per cent used their own organisational website to advertise graduate programs.

Interpersonal and communications skills remained the most important selection criterion, followed by passion/knowledge of industry/drive/commitment/attitude.

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