Image matters

Online profile can boost or hinder a job seeker’s chances of getting employed

03 Mar 2021 / 08:56 H.

PETALING JAYA: If you are looking for a job, watch what you post online because that may just determine your suitability for a vacant position.

Potential employers are not beyond going into cyberspace to scrutinise a job seeker’s character, and anything found favourable or otherwise may weigh heavily on whether to employ the candidate.

That, according to human resource and recruitment experts, is only one of many ways job seekers are assessed to not only determine if they could be employed but also their potential impact on the company’s image.

Srithren Krishnan, who heads human resource department at Arena Middle East and Asia, said job seekers should start by being wary of what they post on social media. “That includes the types of pictures they have,” he told theSun.

“Even their actions online and their email addresses will reflect on their character and attitude,” he added.

Such advice is all the more pertinent now that many people have lost their jobs and businesses have their pick of candidates for any vacant position.

In the last year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit Malaysia, about 100,000 people have lost their jobs.

With the job market so competitive now, job hunting has become unbelievably challenging, making it imperative that job seekers do everything possible to stand out from the crowd.

Srithren said it is not unusual for an employer to conduct research on a job seeker’s social media engagements. Such research can easily reveal if the candidate has characteristics online that is different from what he portrays offline.

He cited a recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management showing that 84% of employers recruit via social media, and 43% screen candidates through social networks and search engines.

“What they find can either give you a leg up or disqualify you from a dream job,” he said.

Srithren said that with the work-from-home culture now firmly in place, employers would also need to manage employees’ requests for telecommunication.

He said the question is whether employees are prepared to be monitored closely by their employers.

“It is also important that it is clearly spelt out during the job interview how much of the work can be done remotely and how often should an employee report to the office,” he added.

Srithren said candidates should also make an effort to draft a good resume and brush up on their presentation skills, especially if the interviews were conducted on platforms such as Zoom. “Your ability to sell yourself will be key,” he added.

Derek Toh, founder and chief executive officer of job search service provider WOBB, said job seekers could differentiate themselves by acquiring digital skills.

“Otherwise, being an overall great communicator is important,” he told theSun. “These include writing, verbal and public speaking skills. The ability to communicate well always gives a job seeker an edge. This is all the more important now that Covid-19 has made the job market so competitive,” he added.

Toh said job seekers also need to thoroughly research the company and the nature of the job they want and this could be done by speaking with seasoned professionals in similar fields to get practical knowledge.

He said an employer would assess how much interest the candidate has in the job through the depth of his knowledge of the role and the industry.

Job Xcel Sdn Bhd director Manohar Ramachandran said job seekers are now ready and willing to accept contractual and temporary positions.

“They have become more flexible, unlike pre-Covid-19 days when they would look for jobs that could lead to a permanent position in the company.

“The salary has also ceased to become a major concern to most job seekers as they look forward to a platform to build their career,” he added.

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