Social media is a tricky platform. You may think that anything you put up there is for your eyes only. However, anything you put out on the internet is fair game to literally anyone who is looking for it. Whether it’s someone you like, a family member, or a prospective employer, nothing is private online.
When people are applying for jobs, one of the first things an HR recruiter or hiring manager will do is look the applicant up on social media. According to the BBC, they will see if they have a profile and look to see what kinds of things they post. Unfortunately, many times people will not get hired due to their pictures from five years ago. Up to 74% of adults feel an unattractive smile can hurt their career success, but in reality, a bad social media post can hurt that success even more.
At the end of June 2015, 2.7 million workers voluntarily left their jobs, which was a 25% increase compared to 2013. While leaving a job isn’t fun, not getting one because of something that was posted on social media might be worse.
The Star Tribune says that many people actually use social media for professional reasons. They use it to connect to people who may work in their desired field and will utilize it to help build connections. While there are those many people who choose to use it to promote themselves as a brand, it’s still very important that they’re cautious of what they actually post.
KOMO suggests screening your social media before even pressing the “apply” button. You want to look out for things that will cause problems like racy photos, inappropriate Tweets and statuses, and rude comments on others’ posts. Unfortunately, KOMO says that you can’t control what others post about you. For instance, if they post a photo of you passed out in a bar, you can’t do much other than untag yourself from the photo. Doing that will prevent it from showing up in your photos. Although, if you personally know the person who posted it, you can kindly ask them to take it down. This won’t guarantee no one else has seen it or saved it, but it’s a step in the right direction.
It’s important to note that even if you’ve landed the job and passed the initial social media test, the test doesn’t end there. While you may have accepted a job offer, and maybe even have been working at the location for a few months, you still need to be careful about what you post on the internet. Anything offensive about the company you work for or other people may raise a red flag. Even if the company isn’t necessarily looking at you online anymore, they could be notified if there is anything happening.
Taking steps like cleaning up your profile, constantly checking to see what others have posted, and utilizing your privacy settings can help you get past the social media screening.