Bosses Checking Applicants Social Media

8 August 2016, 08:07

Social Media

More than a quarter of Scottish businesses check the social media accounts of potential employees to gauge their personality, according to new research.

A study commissioned by Scottish Gas found that 26% of employers monitor sites such as Facebook or Twitter to get an indication of what kind of person a candidate is before meeting them.

The survey of 300 Scottish business leaders suggests job seekers should focus as much on personality and "soft skills'' - such as communication and problem solving - as on getting good grades.

Eight out of 10 of those questioned said those attributes were just as important as having top marks, with half saying they have turned down job seekers because they lacked them.

The same proportion said they thought their company should invest more in offering volunteering opportunities to employees.

The survey, carried out by Atomik Research, also questioned 500 young people between 16 and 25 years old as millions of young people across Scotland await their Higher exam results this week.

Almost half of those who took part admitted heir social profile was not "potential employer-ready'', 61% thought that businesses were only interested in academic grades when hiring and four in 10 had never volunteered.

Hugh Aitken, director of business organisation CBI Scotland, said: "The value that individuals with well-honed soft skills bring to a business is indisputable.

"As this research and our own indicates, business leaders are very clear about wanting to hire people with the right behaviours and attitude.''

Lesley Avinou, head of customer service at Scottish Gas, which runs a volunteering programme for staff, said: "Most young people think that employers only care about their academic achievements - but that's not the case.

"There's a real opportunity for young people to boost their chances of employment through volunteering, which is a great indicator of soft skills.''

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