The Modern Job Seeker Is Always On the Hunt (Even In The Bathroom)

A survey from Jobvite says many job seekers are turning to social media to find jobs. Watch out, because recruiters are looking at your social profiles, too.

The Modern Job Seeker Is Always On the Hunt (Even In The Bathroom)
[Image: Flickr user rafael-castillo]

It seems every other day, you get an invitation to a colleague’s going-away happy hour, or see on LinkedIn someone jumping over to a new company. But Jobvite CEO Dan Finnigan says this wasn’t always the case. When companies had to cut costs, they used to target every budget they could slash before touching payroll.


“My father’s generation–he came up in the ’60s in his business career, his generation is what I call the Mad Men generation–they changed jobs every four times in a career,” Finnigan told Fast Company. Fast-forward to the tech bubble bursting in the late 1990s and early 2000s–when he said companies began targeting their head counts–and the portrait of a modern job seeker is much different, according to a survey the company put out Thursday.

Polling 2,135 adults nationally, the report found that 71% of the labor force says it’s on the job market–Finnigan labels them “job shoppers.” As a baby boomer, he says his generation, on average, will hold seven to eight jobs throughout a career. But for someone currently in his or her early 20s, that number is more like 15 to 20. “If you do the math on the average working life of an employee, it means you’re going to change jobs every three to four years,” he said. Subsequently, the stigma that used to accompany job hunting is no longer there.

People are increasingly using their mobile devices to search for and apply for jobs. Jobvite says 43% of respondents are now conducting job-seeking activities on smartphones and tablets anywhere they can.

  • 27% of all job hunters are doing so on mobile devices while in bed
  • 16% are using their smartphones and tablets to look for jobs while at restaurants
  • 15% are looking while they’re waiting for the bus or train
  • 13% are audacious enough to job hunt in their current offices
  • 7% were not ashamed to admit that they have looked at job information while in the bathroom

The rise of the social job seeker means people are increasingly turning to LinkedIn (23%), Facebook (19%), Google+ (16%), Instagram (16%), and Twitter (13%) to learn more about prospective employers. Of the employed social job seekers, 76% reported finding their current positions through Facebook. Those who use mobile are also more likely to use Facebook over LinkedIn in their job search.

Close to half of social job seekers have modified their privacy settings across social networks and 40% said they have changed their online presence. And for good reason. Jobvite says 93% of recruiters are looking at candidates’ social profiles, with 42% having reconsidered candidates based on this information.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.