Social media can impact employment for new dentists

Dentists who recently graduated from dental school and are wondering why the phone isn’t ringing as much as they thought it would from potential employers may need to review their history of social media activity.

In recent years, employers in all professions have begun using social media as a tool to research job candidates, not just when it comes to hiring, but also when deciding on whom to grant interviews to, according to Chris Brubaker, marketing director for CDA Endorsed Program Demandforce.

“It is now the rule with employers that scanning social media is part of the interview process. You won’t get recruited or even to the initial interview these days, where as just three to four years ago that came later in the interview process,” Brubaker said. “Social media is preventing interviews from happening now.”

According to an article in The New York Times, 75 percent of employment recruiters are required to “do online research about candidates, and many use a range of sites when scrutinizing applicants — including search engines, social-networking sites, photo- and video-sharing sites, personal websites and blogs, Twitter and online-gaming sites.”

According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, of employers questioned, 45 percent were using social networks to screen job candidates. Facebook was used by 29 percent, LinkedIn 26 percent and 11 percent search blogs. Some even followed candidates on Twitter.

Brubaker said managing ones various social media accounts using privacy settings is the main way to make sure social media does not hinder a new dentist’s chances of landing an interview. New dentists can decide what is public and what is private by using privacy settings on platforms such as Facebook and also by segmenting their friends into what they can and cannot see.

“If I were to speak to new dentists right now and they didn’t know what privacy settings were on social media, that would be more of a problem to me than what they actually post,” Brubaker said.

Most social platforms, including Facebook, have privacy settings that dentists can use to control what is public and what is not. As far as what a new dentist should and shouldn’t post, Brubaker doesn’t want to discourage using social media all together when new dentists are looking for employment, but does recommend taking a cautious approach.

“You just want to tend toward being more conservative even if you have the right privacy settings in place because you can never be too sure what is actually public on the Internet,” Brubaker said. 

Here are a few things to be mindful of posting on social media:

  • unprofessional photos (parties, etc.);
  • controversial statements (related to politics, religion, etc.);
  • anything criticizing current or past employers; and
  • blog posts that can be construed as polarizing.

In the general job market, new dentists should be cautious of sharing these things on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and make sure they maintain a professional LinkedIn profile.

Social media doesn’t always hurt ones chances during the job hunt, however. There are some instances when social media can actually help a new dentist.

“If you participate in volunteer activities in the community in any way and are already trying to take a thought-leadership approach, those are the things you want to post on social media because employers will look at that favorably,” Brubaker said. “If there are any papers that you have written or if you have been published, link to those type of things.”

Another possibility is for new dentists to “check in” at certain dental-related meetings they attend or use the hashtag associated with those professional meetings.

“You want to share anything that reflects your excitement about your career,” Brubaker said.

Social media is also a good place for recent graduates to network on sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

“When you are looking for a job, don’t get so scared that you are afraid to use social media. Using social media could be a huge career booster, especially if the owner dentist at the practice you are applying at is looking for someone with a little ‘social savvy,’” Brubaker said.

When anyone goes through the interview process to find a job, perception is often reality, especially for someone in the medical profession.

“Your career choice is a trusted medical professional, and I think medical professionals are held to a different standard than the public at large,” Brubaker said. “There is going to be an expectation that they will be held to a different standard and the sooner a dentist in dental school realizes this in terms of their social media presence, the better.”

For more information about social media guidelines and what new dentists should be aware of, view the CDA Practice Support Center’s Guide for the New Dentist.

Topics: New Dentists