Jobseekers: your social media profile won’t cost you the job

Kiwi jobseekers aiming to give their career a fresh start should start by polishing up their resume and job interview skills. Read more here. 

  • Social media profiles are not the most crucial factor that impacts hiring decisions for HR managers.
  • 45% of New Zealand hiring managers say a candidate’s CV is the most important factor influencing hiring decisions for management-level positions, slightly dropping to 38% for staff-level positions.
  • 38% point to a candidate’s interview performance as the most crucial factor for management-level positions, dropping to 30% for staff-level positions.

Kiwi jobseekers aiming to give their career a fresh start should start by polishing up their resume and job interview skills, as independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half reveals the key factors which influence the success of a job search process. 

None of the hiring managers surveyed say a candidate’s social media profile has any impact on their hiring decisions for both staff-level and management-level positions. Fundamental elements of the job search, such as CVs and interviews, still predominantly determine if a candidate gets the job (or not).

Almost half (45%) of New Zealand HR mangers identify the candidate’s CV as the most important factor when recruiting for management-level roles, a figure that drops to 38% for staff-level positions. A candidate’s performance during the interview is seen as almost just as important, as almost four in 10 (38%) HR managers say it has the most impact for management-level roles, and by one in three (30%) for staff-level positions. 

Megan Alexander, General Manager at Robert Half New Zealand said: “With 2017 being well underway into 2017, the employment market for jobseekers is looking promising, but at the same competitive. Candidates who are faced with tough competition for job vacancies should know as much as possible what influences the final decisions of hiring managers. Doing so can mean the difference between being offered the role and being passed over.”

“While social media have secured a fixed place in the recruitment world, the research confirms that the traditional elements in the hiring process, being the CV and the job interview, are still considered to be the most important elements. For jobseekers to succeed, they need to have a stellar CV, and excel during their interview(s).”

“While the traditional resume and the interview still have the most impact on hiring decisions, social media butterflies should be cautious. Hiring managers do generally check LinkedIn, Facebook or even Twitter profiles before extending an offer. Kiwi jobseekers should therefore polish their online profiles before commencing their job search. Jobseekers can still display some personality online, but they need to make sure to maintain good conduct online at all times, even for private social media channels and especially in the digital age where online profiles are increasingly accessible to almost everyone.”

“In order to make the recruitment process a success, we recommend an encompassing approach, which not only includes screening resumes and conducting interviews. Other factors, such as skills tests and checking a candidate’s references and online profiles can reveal substantial information about the candidate which can in turn influence the hiring decision,” Megan Alexander concluded. 

HR managers were asked: “What are the most important factors impacting your hiring decision?”

   Management-level positions  Staff-level positions
CV 45% 38%
Job interview performance   38% 30%
Candidate testing 9% 19%
Reference checks  6% 10%
Recommendation from network/staffing agency 2% 3%
Social media profile 0% 0%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 100 HR Managers in New Zealand. 

Five tips for writing a compelling CV
1.    Keep it professional – Avoid using emoticons, slang words or amusing lines such as “strong coffee-making abilities”. Maintain a professional tone, and always proofread and spellcheck the document.
2.    Highlight soft skills – Communication, leadership and interpersonal skills are very important to employers and should be highlighted in a CV. Substantiate soft skills with examples of how they have applied in the work experience section of your resume.
3.    Be precise – Tailor your resume to each role you apply for, in particular noting the experience and/or technical skills you have that meet the job criteria.
4.    Eliminate unrelated skills – Avoid adding irrelevant or outdated skills on your resume. By focusing on the skills that are relevant to the role, candidates increase their chances to get a response from the hiring manager.
5.    Do you research – A quick google search will give you background information on the interviewer which could serve as a great way to break the ice.

Job interview tips – dos and don’ts 
•    Dress to impress.
Make sure your clothes are professional, clean, ironed and presentable.
•    Make eye contact, and begin with a strong handshake. This will signal your confidence when you meet your interviewer for the first time.
•    Sit still, with your feet firmly on the ground. This will help you maintain your posture and avoid fidgeting.
•    Remember your CV details. In particular the experience most relevant to the role you're interviewing for.
•    Make a note of your questions. Bring a note-pad if you feel you might forget important points.
•    Remember: It's just as important for the interviewer to sell the benefits of working at their business, as it is for you to impress your next potential employer.
•    Turn up late to the interview. If for some reason it's unavoidable, call ahead to let your interviewer know your expected time of arrival.
•    Dress sloppily or inappropriately. Not sure what to wear? Read our guidelines.
•    Smoke before your interview. Whilst a quick cigarette might seem like a good idea to calm your nerves, the smell will be noticeable and unpleasant for your interviewer.
•    Volunteer your weaknesses. Whilst honesty is always the best policy, there is no need to volunteer your shortfalls unless asked directly.
•    Criticise your current or previous employer. Doing so could give your interviewer the impression you're difficult to work with.


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and conducted in April 2016 by an independent research firm, surveying 100 New Zealand HR managers. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]