Online Profiles: Online profiles may give you the interview, but not the job

With organizations redoubling their efforts to search for the right talent, knowing where to find them is now the most important part of the job. According to a survey by, nearly 93% of organizations report that they do some background check if they want to understand the person behind the business portfolio.

HR professionals need to use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, says Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder of “These profiles can help HR professionals gauge how knowledgeable, honest and reliable potential applicants are,” he says. Online professional profiles are ultimately meant to help an employer see if a new candidate is a good fit for the role, team or organization, adds Sana Nayyar of The Urban Company. “It helps discover who they are, and the work they’ve done,” she says.

related to the role

So, how important is a strong professional online presence? This depends on the role. “If you hire someone on social media or a brand manager, it helps to know if they are micro influencers. Do they intrinsically understand what’s popular or how to promote something?” says Aditi Pareek, head of human resources at Pepperfry.

“For creative positions like interior designers, trade managers, and photographers, how they organize their Facebook and Instagram profiles helps understand their creativity, originality, and mindset,” she explains.

However, being online is not deal breaker for employers. Harshvendra Soin, chief personnel officer at Tech Mahindra, says that while “public profiles on professional platforms offer unique insights,” vetting publicly available information is still a small part of their hiring process.

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It’s a sentiment echoed by the larger industry.

“The process of selecting talent from middle to senior levels in organizations tends to start with reference to an individual’s social media profile. However, it is only a matter of measuring the seniority and longevity of an individual in his or her past commitments,” says Ishita Bandyopadai, General Manager of Aon. For Valuation Solutions, Southeast Asia and India.

At the executive level, there are few companies that, through third-party vendors, take a deep dive on social media to see an individual’s credibility, says Navneet Singh, India’s Chairman and Managing Director, Korn Phiri. “But it is not a prevalent practice at all levels,” he says.

weighs in

Companies also understand that what you see online may not always be what you get. One survey found that 34% of LinkedIn profiles contained inaccurate or misleading information. “An applicant can look attractive in their media accounts, but remember that there are more and more ways to create ‘profile interfaces’ today,” says Bandupadhai. This is why she believes that the weight of social media profiles in the final selection should be close to zero.

Amit Chinchulikar, global head of human resources, Tata Consumer Products, says social media profiles are largely a personal privilege and should “at best be used to validate or disprove a hypothesis”.

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