Do Employers Socially Screen Job Applicants?

Social Media Screening

Professionals use social networking to land jobs and advance their careers. When job hunting, a strong personal brand can boost the chances of getting an interview, but those who’ve yet to consider their online image may be in for some surprises. Employers admit that social media affects the hiring decision because a quick Google search can reveal lots about a candidate’s technical and cultural fit.

Although common practice, many job seekers carry onward, posting inappropriate material online or neglecting the social sphere altogether, because they believe not all employers screen via social media. Well, let’s see what the statistics have to say:

  • Career Builder reports 51% of employers have denied applicants because of online content (43% in 2013 and 34% in 2012);
  • Cross Tab Marketing estimates 75% of companies have policies in favour of online screening;
  • Workopolis notes that 60% of job seekers anticipate social screening in Canada, 25% of whom view this practice as unethical;
  • William Staughton at North Carolina State University concludes two-thirds of professionals believe social screening to be an invasion of privacy (results compiled from two separate studies).

The above outlines only some available research in this field. For more information, consult Reppler’s Infographic on social media applicant screening.

Unfortunately, whether or not you agree with social screening, it happens. To protect yourself, then, understand the things that negatively affect your chances of employment – inappropriate photographs, posts about alcohol or drugs, poor communication skills, discriminatory comments, criminal behaviour and so on – as well as those that might improve your eligibility – cohesive branding, creative or valuable content contributions and so on.

About: FlexStaf-IT is a Canadian-based organization that connects qualified I.T. personnel with companies offering short- or long-term contract assignments, permanent placement positions, and fully managed end-to-end I.T. project solutions. [Job Seeker’s Handbook 1] [Job Seeker’s Handbook 2].

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Attend NPower Canada’s TSC Program This November

NPower Program

In Toronto, youth unemployment soars above 20%. But when one considers this pool of jobless 18- to 25-year olds, a solution becomes evident for the 106,000+ in-demand ICT workers through to 2016. Age aside, though, the ICT workforce needs diversification moving forward: women comprise only 29% and new Canadians 5% of the industry overall.

Such statistics illustrate a need for programs that will provide young adults with the skills necessary to change and improve the tech industry, regardless of sex, race or status. Now, NPower Canada strives to achieve this through the launch of its Technology Services Corps Canada (TSC) program.

Beginning in November, NPower Canada moves into Ryerson University, where the organization will provide no-cost tech training to 25 students. The program runs for 22 weeks, balancing classwork, mentoring, coaching, networking and internship placement.

Based on the organization’s US model, which operates at an 80% efficiency, NPower Canada aims to finish the semester at a 75% success rate. As the organization professes, this is only possible with the help of partnerships and coalitions. To date, the program has received support from an array of companies including Cisco, Accenture, TD Bank and CivicAction.

Young professionals interested in this opportunity must meet a series of requirements, as outlined on the organization’s website. Follow through the link to learn more or to download the application form. Best of luck to all participants!

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The Canadian Job Market’s Startling Results Corrected

Last month, Statistics Canada tallied the nation’s job market activity and arrived at an alarming conclusion: a net gain of only 200 positions in July. The increase of 60,000 part-time jobs did little to offset the loss of 59,700 full-time jobs, continuing June’s downward slant of 9,400 positions. Thankfully, however, forecasters’ prediction of 20,000 new jobs was not completely off once Statistics Canada retracted the data. After a recalculation, the total reflects a positive of 41,700 jobs this summer – 59,900 part-time positions made and 18,100 full-time positions lost.

In Ontario, employment rose 40,000; though, the unemployment rate did not budge (7.5%). That’s not encouraging if you compare this summer’s results to the 0.9% spike in July 2013. As a nation, unemployment this July hardly improved either: it’s down only 0.1% month-over-month and 0.2% year-over year. Yet these numbers do not reveal the fact only 25% of jobs created this year have been full time. This means the employment growth experienced in 2014 will not yield expected income levels. As many economists point out, this places a great deal of restraint on the Canadian labour market.

Here’s a breakdown of the information from Statistics Canada’s report:

  • Employment increased by 157,000 in the 12 months leading up to July;
  • Total hours worked rose 0.3% compared to last year;
  • Employment rates only improved for two age brackets: 25 to 54 and 15 to 24;
  • The majority of jobs created were in educational services and in information, culture and recreation;
  • Self-employment rates declined while private sector employment rates increased.

Stats Can Employment Stats Can Unemployment

*Charts courtesy of Statistics Canada (July 2014)

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How to Write a Letter of Acceptance

Job Letter of Acceptance

Not every job requires a formal letter of acceptance; though, it is a nice formality nonetheless. It gives new employees a chance to demonstrate their professionalism and commitment, while also reaffirming the terms and conditions of the contract.

Via email or courier, always address your letter of acceptance to the person who offered you the position. At the top of the page, include their contact information along with your own. Next, complete the following steps sequentially:

  • Thank the company/employer
  • Accept the job offer and assume its title/position
  • Reiterate clauses from the contract, including the salary and benefits
  • Confirm the position’s responsibilities, start date, hours and other critical details
  • End on a note of optimism and gratitude

As with any document, edit for typos, grammatical errors and unclear language. For various templates, check out Career Advice, America’s Job Exchange, Eastern Illinois University and Purdue Owl. As well, candidates still on the hunt should consult our Job Seeker’s Handbooks for tips on resume writing and interviewing [Issue 1] [Issue 2].

About: FlexStaf-IT is a Canadian-based organization that connects qualified I.T. personnel with companies offering short- or long-term contract assignments, permanent placement positions, and fully managed end-to-end I.T. project solutions.

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Common Types of Interviews

Common Types of Interviews

Screening Interviews

Employers often screen candidates over the phone before conducting in-person interviews. This gives recruiters a chance to preview an applicant to determine if he or she fits the job’s full profile. Body language does not count here, so note that the first impression rests entirely on one’s ability to communicate verbally.

In-Person Interviews

When brought into the office, candidates should expect one of three situations: the one-on-one interview, the panel interview or the group interview. Most know of the first situation, but the latter two can be stressful new experiences. Essentially, several decision-makers host panel interviews to collect interpretations and eliminate biases concerning one applicant. Group interviews, on the other hand, gather a handful of candidates for simultaneous questioning to reveal leadership and/or teamwork potential.

Second Interviews

Depending on the format of the first interview, the company may ask to see the candidate again before making the final decision. At this point, interviews can last the better part of a day and may involve multiple individuals, including HR representations, managers, supervisors and other office heads. Like the in-person interviews above, these may come in different forms.

  • Behavioural-Based Interview: Assuming a person’s past performances can predict his or her future actions, interviewers examine a candidate’s work history, asking for specific examples that demonstrate competency. They look for answers within a context – situation, task, action and result.
  • Task-Oriented Interview: Candidates must finish a task to prove their creative and analytical abilities. This may be a hypothetical or physical challenge.
  • Stress Interview: The interviewer puts the candidate in the hot seat to test how he or she reacts under pressure. Stress tactics include awkward silences, unwarranted interruptions and argumentative or antagonistic questions.

About: FlexStaf-IT is a Canadian-based organization that connects qualified I.T. personnel with companies offering short- or long-term contract assignments, permanent placement positions, and fully managed end-to-end I.T. project solutions. [Job Seeker’s Handbook 1].

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The Bilingual Job Seeker in Canada

The Bilingual Job Seeker in Canada

IT professionals need to know many programming languages, but how about human languages? The fact that Canada boasts two official languages should indicate the fact job seekers with knowledge of French and English possess an advantage. But did you know they also make more money?

According to a study by the Department of Economics at the University of Cyprus, bilingual men earn 21% and bilingual women earn 15% more than unilingual Francophones in Quebec. Interestingly enough, in the rest of Canada bilingual men earn 5.4% and women 9.3% more than unilingual Anglophones. The Ontario Trillium Foundation also reports that Francophones in Toronto pull in $5000 more per year than the average Torontonian.

To employers, bilingualism is a desirable skill– and workers feel the same. In the last Canadian census, 2.8-million Canadians admitted to using more than one language in the workplace, particularly those in “customer-facing jobs.” Yet this extends beyond just French and English. Bloomberg Rankings lists Mandarin Chinese as the most useful language to know for business. Alongside French, the company suggests learning Arabic or sign language.

Note: Never exaggerate your abilities on a resume. Know your strengths and limitations and convey your skills as such. With that said, if you can speak another language fluently, list it with your other soft skills. In other words, move it out from hobbies and interests into your discussion or summary.

About: FlexStaf-IT is a Canadian-based organization that connects qualified I.T. personnel with companies offering short- or long-term contract assignments, permanent placement positions, and fully managed end-to-end I.T. project solutions. [Job Seeker’s Handbook 1].

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Best Day of the Week to Job Hunt

Best Day of the Week to Job Hunt

The title of this post is at best subjective. If posed as a question, it is nearly unanswerable to the degree that different companies employ different hiring procedures, thus making the “ideal” day for job hunters difficult to determine. For a long time, job seekers generally thought of Wednesday as the best day because of the mid-week slum: Offices are less hectic and therefore have more time to spend searching. New research, however, suggests beginning and ending the week with an application or two.

Monday: According to Bright.com, Monday applicants have a “30 percent chance of advancing to the next round.” In this context, “next round” refers to the interview process. The reasoning: Resumes pile up as the week continues. Look at the survey’s full results below:

Best Day of the Week to Job Hunt

Friday: Based on a survey by eFinancialCareers, nearly 40% of all CV searches happen on Wednesdays and Thursdays; 34.5% of all applications come in over these two days as well. This means that the competition is greatest in the middle of the week. Fridays, however, resume searching peaks as recruiters and employers rush to fill the remaining vacancies!

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