It’s probably safe to say that anyone under the age of 30 has made the arguably dubious choice of sending a selfie to friends and family, or even posting one to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Although often a harmless bit of fun, research has suggested that many recruiters look at selfies with disdain, tarnishing their perception of a potential recruit before they’ve even met them.
The UK Social Recruitment Survey by Jobvite looked into the use of social media in the recruitment sector and found that although 60% of recruiters don’t currently search for candidates through social media, it’s becoming increasing common for them to do so. As a result, how we portray ourselves on social media is increasingly important if we want to avoid promoting a negative perception of ourselves to employers.
They went on to find that nearly half (46%) of recruiters would be put off by a candidate who had alcohol-related posts and photos, whilst over half (54%) thought that poor grammar was a big no-no. Most interestingly, however, was how nearly a third (34%) saw selfies in a negative light, as they promote the idea that you may be “narcissistic” or “self-absorbed” in social situations, which could lead to problems in the workplace.
But will a simple set of self-shots really affect other people’s perceptions of you? I asked the ClearlyPR team to find out what they think…
“For me, it’s the context that the selfies are in. I think it’s natural to want to share social events, family photos and so on with others. However, if someone has endless selfies with a fraction of change in expression or background, I get the impression that all they do is spend their time at home looking for the best angle and lighting.
As from an employer’s point of view, I don’t think that selfies should affect someone’s chances of employment unless they’re up to no good or if the caption is offensive. If that’s the case, then maybe it’s best to ensure your accounts are all private and away from your boss’ prying eyes!
All in all though, if someone’s uploaded a photo of themselves it usually means they think they look good – and what’s wrong with that? In my opinion, it’s a lot better to build people up than tear them down over a simple photo.”
“To be honest, someone’s selfies shouldn’t really affect their chances of getting a job – they don’t exactly reveal much about their skills or experience. They can however give an insight into a person’s interests – for example; travelling or gym selfies, which may be useful for particular roles. I think a lot of people also make judgments about someone’s personality from such images – it can come across as a bit narcissistic if someone’s social media is full of images of themselves…but at the end of the day, everyone takes selfies.
I do think that it does also have a lot to do with the industry you’re working in – some sectors are a lot stricter about their social media policies. Of course, when you’re an employee, you’re essentially representing that company so if pictures are let’s say, bordering more on the inappropriate side, they may have an influence of your chances.”
“Selfies should not affect a candidate’s suitability, period.
If somebody wants to take photos in their spare time and post them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook then that is absolutely fine with me. In fact there are certainly some individuals who illustrate a creative nature with their photography, which is a skill in itself and something many employers would like to utilise on a grander scale.
The only qualm I have is with LinkedIn. There is no room for selfies on the world’s largest professional networking site. Individuals who feel the need to post these kinds of images on LinkedIn should expect to be judged – it is poor etiquette. “
“You never look at someone who has taken a selfie and think ‘wow, that’s professional!’ or ‘I’ll bet they’re doing well for themselves!’. Selfies are synonymous with casual usage, and posting them through social media does not put across a professional image.
Depending on the tone of the business they work with, the selfie-taker could find a place to thrive. For businesses that cater towards said casual demographic, integrity is an important part of their image – by speaking the language of their target consumer, business may see a boost.
For LinkedIn or on a CV though? No chance. Get them off!”
“Selfies are not problematic in themselves – after all everyone likes a photo every now and again, and you have the added benefit of being able to get it spot on before you take it. But it depends on multiple factors – the nature of the picture, the quantity and the platform that they are being posted on.
For example, a Snapchat selfie of friends on a night out? Fine by me. A picture of you pouting in your new t-shirt on Instagram? Dubious. A 20-picture Facebook album of you flexing your muscles? No thanks.
I tend to steer clear of selfies apart from on Snapchat, as it’s a casual app populated with my close friends, and the pictures are deleted after 1-10 seconds anyway. In terms of other social media platforms, I’d recommend playing it safe and reconsidering before you hit send.”
And what about our MD, Paul?
“Social media has become a primary tool by which employers actively seek out the candidates they want to attract, whilst weeding out those who they think are a poor ‘fit’ for their organisations. So it’s important that candidates understand that there are unwritten rules which govern how they present themselves across different social media platforms.
Posting a selfie as a main profile picture on Facebook or Instagram is perfectly acceptable, as these forms of media are fun and personal. However, doing so for LinkedIn is an absolute no-no – LinkedIn in a professional environment and employers want to see someone who could represent them in the public domain.”