No social media profile, no employment?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 - Blog, job search, job seeking, Social Media


No social media profile, no employment?

In light of the March 2010 UK unemployment statistics, there appears to be good news on the employment and economic horizon. However, media reports have made me ask one question:

If you don’t have a social media profile, is it now stopping you being employed?

UK Unemployment

Yesterday, the UK’s latest unemployment figures were released for the period November 2009 to February 2010, showing a 30,000 reduction in headline unemployment. The reality as many analysts and media commentators showed is some what different, with:

  • Net commercial sector employment down by 61,000
  • Net Government employment rose by 9,000
  • 30,000 sub 25 year olds disappearing
  • 60,000+ taking what can be called early retirement

The market reacted positively, with the pound rising by 3% to be back above the $1.50 mark.

Summary: its not a recovery, or probably the height of the unemployment level, but it’s a sign that the rate of rise is probably past its peak

BBC News and their excellent economics editor Stephanie Flanders reported on the figures, with Flanders analysis as always having an early focus on commercial sector v government sector employment. We know the government need to cut spending, but only Flanders up until now of the many commentators makes a point of highlighting how at present government spending is taking up the slack of commercial sector reductions.

At last Flanders lead seems to be followed by other media as we grow closer to an election, with the Daily Mail leading with the headline: 126 workers a day join public payroll… while private employers axe 1,440 jobs
The Mail article wenet further, with statics that include:

  • Long-term unemployment is soaring, with a rise of nearly 50 per cent in the number out of work for at least 12 months
  • Those over the age of 50 – the most difficult age to get a job – are the most vulnerable, with nearly 398,000 unemployed, the largest number for 15 years
  • One in five of working age do not have a job, with the number of ‘economically inactive’ soaring to 8.1million, the highest since records began in 1971
  • More than one million employees – another record – are being forced to work part time because they cannot get a full-time job
  • The employment rate is just 72.2 per cent, the lowest percentage of the working-age population to be in employment since 1996.

No social media?

Like many of the news reports, BBC Televisions report featured an unemployed person, this time an accountant who had been unemployed for six months. I noted her name and those from other media reports, but the lady accountant featured on the BBC had a name which was quite unique and easily searchable. Yet: not one Google result or social media hit. I even tried dedicated searches on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google profile: nowt!

Neville Keithley

The case of unfortunately departed and greatly missed Neville Keithley highlighted one man’s job search, who had rightly analysed that if he didn’t market himself then employers wouldn’t know about him. Unfortunately Mr Keithley shortly afterwards suffered some tragic medical news, and was unable to follow through on the 20+ employer enquiries that he had received as the result of his considerable expenditure.

Social Media Checklist

When I released Social Media Checklist as a product, there were two reactions: one planned, one unplanned. Firstly, it sold well and has created a lot of discussion in those who bought it – mainly over how open their own social media profiles were.

However, the unplanned reaction was the number of phone calls from recruiting clients and employer friends, who suddenly wanted to learn more about searching for their job applicants, particularly where they couldn’t find them. These calls all followed a similar pattern:

  • We have had a job application from X
  • X seems to have the right set of skills, but we can’t find him online, can you?
  • What we have/have not found makes us suspicious, and unless we can find more we won’t be taking them to the next stage/employing them

Some of these people I found, and all was well. With others I couldn’t find them, or as the employers suspected found something interesting: a duplicate identity for instance.

Legality of Social Media employment

The real question here is, is it legal to reject a job application on social media evidence? Most legal and employment advisers would suggest no.

I have told each employer who has contacted me to only reject a job application they are suspicious of, after they have undertaken a telephone interview. They then go through their normal and legal employment procedure, and it offers the option to raise the question of a lack of supporting information.

If you can’t be found, or your CV information supported, then employers have the right to reject you. When we know from surveys that 65%+ of employers are using social media to check employees, it is not surprising that employees are being rejected for the lack of a social media profile. Whether this is legal or not is a question I am sure that the courts will be answering soon, but a social media profile is an essential in the real world of job search.

Good Luck!

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5 Responses to “No social media profile, no employment?”

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