Tech & Communications

71 percent of MENA employers influenced by candidate’s social-networking activities

by  — 30 September 2013

A Middle East and North Africa poll conducted recently by , has shown that managing one's online presence and creating a powerful personal brand is more important than ever, with 70.5 percent of polled professionals saying they have changed their mind about a candidate based on their online presence.

More than half of the poll’s respondents (54.3 percent) say they are aware of the concept of personal branding, with 46.2 percent  saying they always turn to online search engines to find out more about those they have met, or are about to meet.

At the same time, 41.5 percent of responding companies said they always research new hires online before hiring, with a fifth maintaining they (19.8 percent) sometimes do so. “The large number of companies that research candidates makes it more essential than ever for a candidate to have a professional and appealing online presence,” said Suhail Masri, vice president of Sales,

41.5 percent of responding companies said they always research new hires online before hiring.

The majority of respondents (68.9 percent) feel that current social networks allow them to convey their key strengths at a professional level, though three quarters (74.6 percent) are concerned that sharing information online poses a threat to their privacy. The challenge of not knowing where to start with formulating a professional personal brand (21.1 percent), was also perceived as a challenge. Despite this, the overwhelming majority (92 percent) of respondents think that personal online branding increases their career opportunities, with the most important benefits being the ability to showcase their abilities (23.2 percent), and connect to their target audience (21.1 percent). Being able to distinguish themselves from others in their field (14.7 percent) and becoming an expert or thought leader (13.2 percent) are also important.

When asked whether they would like to showcase their key skills and expertise in a more creative way, 97 percent of respondents said yes. More than half (51.1 percent) believe that their own CEO’s personal branding skills are excellent, with a further 20.2 percent stating that they are above average, suggesting that those higher up the corporate ladder have already established the best ways to promote their image and are already reaping the results and benefits of professional online branding.

“The time has never been more apt for people in the MENA region to start shaping and monitoring their online presence,” says Masri. “Developing a strong online personal brand, is essential not only for job seekers, but also for ambitious professionals at all career levels and in all industries looking to move up the corporate ranks and connect with peers, employers and clients.”

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