Canadian employers are checking out potential job candidates on social media before offering a job or sometimes even an interview. This applies to both newcomers and Canadians alike.
In January 2023, a survey was conducted by the Harris Poll, a global consulting and market research firm, on behalf of Express Employment. Express Employment is a leading global staffing provider. The survey found that more than 60% of Canadian companies (65%) say they screen a candidate’s social media. Among this group, 41% said they have found content on a job candidate’s social media that caused them to not offer them the job.
Refining and editing your social media should be a priority in the initial stages of your job search. Some employers start checking a candidate’s social media early in the process while others wait until the final stage of the hiring process.
What are employers looking for?
Jessica Culo, the owner of several Express Employment Professionals locations in Edmonton, spoke with CIC News about some of the things to watch out for on social media as a newcomer. She said that when a potential employer is checking social media, they are looking for “Any red flags such as inappropriate, unethical, polarizing, or extreme comments or photos. I have seen employers not hire candidates because they have very strong political views being displayed to excess online.”
She says that newcomers, and some Canadians as well, may not grasp that strong political or religious views can “send an image that turns employers off.” She says this can be a bigger issue for someone that may have fled an unstable political environment [and] may be more inclined to take part in political conversations or online debate.
This does not just apply to your LinkedIn profile, which employers typically review to get a sense of your professional experience. Culo says potential employers are most likely to check whichever social media profiles appears on a google search.
Social media monitoring does not stop after being hired. The Harris Poll data notes that 86% of employers said they would fire a current employee who creates any “inappropriate posts.” Employers define this as something that is damaging to the company, reveals confidential information, or promotes illegal drug use.
One piece of advice Culo offers is to keep your social media profiles private where possible. “If social media does not have to be public for the nature of the work that you do, I would say private is better.” A private profile means potential employers are not able to see everything you post.