Today, social media allows everyone to be more connected than ever before. Unfortunately, this means even people you don’t want to be seeing your posts can most likely see them including potential employers. It’s more common than you may think for social media discoveries to prevent employers from hiring candidates.
So, you’ve done the prescreen phone call, met for an in-person interview and submitted your references. Now what? You feel like your dream job is so close you’re already planning your first day of work outfit. You’re now awaiting the final factor: The online background check. To get a credit or criminal background check the employer must have written permission, but there are informal ways an employer can get information on you through your online presence. But how can you prepare for this step in the interview process? We’re here to help.
First off, start by Google searching yourself to find out what shows up first. If you have a common name add your hometown or current location. This will give you an idea of what your potential employer is seeing. If you see anything you don’t like, try and contact the site to take it down. After the Google search you’re onto your social media accounts.
Social media accounts are a prime source of information on yourself. According to CareerBuilder, 70% of employers looked at candidate’s social media before making a hiring decision last year. Not only are employers looking at your photos, but also captions and the verbiage used to contain swear words and controversial content.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so make sure your profile photos and posts are saying something positive about you. If not, remove them or be sure to make your account private. Quick tip: default images come off as lazy, so at least have something!
A person’s social media accounts do not always reflect a full picture of how an employee may be in their work-life, but it still shows the colors of that person in the real world. So, to clean that up you can dig deeper through a site called BrandYourself.com. BrandYourself searches your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see what your “reputation score” is based on the sites artificial intelligence. It will flag warning signs so that you can change or delete things that may be worrisome to employers.
Sometimes during the hiring process the hiring manager may even ask you about a post they saw. Always be honest and remember to think twice about what you post. You never know who will see. Pretend Grandma is always watching.