The digital age has made the recruitment process a lot easier for both candidates and employers alike. By harnessing social media in particular, candidates can almost instantly find out anything and everything they want to know about their potential employers. However, this works both ways and chances are your potential employer are also using social media to find everything they can about you, too.
Social media has the ability to offer others a public, but very personal insight into our lives. For employers, our social media profiles can provide them with a more well-rounded, accurate depiction of ourselves than our CVs ever could. Because of this, employers are turning to social media more and more when it comes to searching for new staff.
When it comes to a candidate’s job search, their social media is rarely one of their main focuses. However, your social media presence does actually have the potential to either make or break your job prospects.
Do not fear, though. With a little bit of due care and attention, you can make sure that your social media presence doesn’t sabotage your career.
Here are Kiwi Recruitments top tips for ensuring social media doesn’t ruin your job prospects.
We know most people advise against Googling yourself, but this is one of the few times where doing so is actually handy. By searching your name on Google, you will be able to see what information about you is out there for people to find so you can manage your online reputation.
We recommend using incognito mode when you go to Google yourself. By doing so, it means your search results won’t be affected by your browsing history, meaning you’re more likely to see what your potential employer will see.
If you find anything that is inappropriate, tweak your privacy settings (we’ll go more into that later), or remove the post if you can.
You do want people to be able to find out some things about you, though. If some information out there is favourable or useful, keep it on there.
Consider your profile picture
First impressions count. When a potential employer searches for you on a social media platform, your profile picture is naturally going to be the first thing they see. How you appear in your profile picture is going to imply to them what you are like in reality, so you don’t want to paint an unsavoury image of yourself.
This doesn’t mean you need to use a professional headshot, but make sure whatever photo you choose is somewhat respectful and would give a good first impression to anyone viewing it.
It’s worth noting that, no matter how much you tweak your privacy settings on all your social media profiles, your profile picture will always be visible publicly. Make sure you’re happy with it.
Consider having multiple accounts
The majority of people are accustomed to using social media strictly for personal purposes. However, some might benefit from setting up a separate, professional account; This is more commonly seen on Twitter and Instagram as opposed to Facebook.
Many of us can’t always be trusted to hold back when we are online and lots of profanity and strong opinions is unlikely to be seen all too favourably by a potential employer. This is where setting up a professional account that is entirely focused on your career could be beneficial.
Completely unlinked to your personal accounts, a professional account will allow you to better present yourself while also enabling you to network with other people within your chosen sector.
Control your privacy settings
The open and closed nature of social media platforms varies between different networks. However, all of them give you the ability to adjust your privacy settings, allowing you to dictate who can see what, if anything at all.
Again, the settings vary from network to network but in general, you can use them to make yourself more difficult to find in searches, hide your entire profile from anyone you’re not connected with, or just hide particular pieces of content unless you’re connected with them.
Adjusting your privacy settings is one of the best ways to conceal yourself online and prevent potential employers from seeing any embarrassing or damaging photos. If you want to go one step further, you could even go as far as using a different name, such as a nickname for your personal accounts to make yourself less searchable.
Don’t just pay attention to photos
You should be making sure you are aware of not only the photos you are posting online but all your interactions on social media.
It’s worth noting that while you may have your profiles set to private, other people you interact with might not have done the same. Any interactions you have had on another person’s profile may still be able to be found by a potential employer.
By looking at your tone and conversations on social media, they will make judgements on how well you interact with other people. Be mindful of any badgering or discriminatory comments you may have made, whether this is in your own posts or that of another individual.
Don’t erase your entire profile
While the fear of potential employer discovering something that’s embarrassing at best, and career-damaging at the worst could tempt you to completely erase all your profiles… It is completely unnecessary and could actually backfire.
According to the 2018 Career Building Survey, 47% of employers said they wouldn’t call a person for an interview if they couldn’t find an online presence. Over a quarter of employers said this is because they want to gather more information before calling a candidate, while another 20% said they expect candidates to have some sort of online presence.
By deleting all your social media profiles, it can also make it seem like you are trying to hide something. This can also put employers off hiring or even interviewing you as they’ll be wondering what you are trying to hide and may jump to the wrong conclusions, having to complete opposite effect that you wanted.
Another thing worth noting is that your data is not necessarily gone just because you have deleted your profiles; Some things may still come up in a Google search. While it may be daunting, regularly auditing your social media accounts to keep them clean is a much better method.
Don’t stop once you’ve found a job
While we’ve focused a lot on the job search here, in particular, it’s important not to stop managing your social media profiles once you’ve found a job. Your social media presence still has the potential to damage your job prospects even if you already have a job.
The 2018 Career Building Survey also found that 48% of employers use social media to research their current employees, not just potential ones. Out of those employers, 34% of them said they found content that caused them to discipline or even fire the employee in question.
Different companies have different policies on how their employees can use social media to interact with other members of the company, particularly with more senior members of the company. Most tend to not allow employees to connect with these senior members on personal social networking platforms. Even if there isn’t a policy preventing this, it’s advisable to keep your managers off your network or limit what they can see on your profile.
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