There’s a reason it’s called social media. Your postings on Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter and other online outlets are far from private. By their very nature, they’re easily searchable – and to a certain extent, you are what the Internet says about you.
CareerBuilder recently reported that at least 40 percent of companies use social networking sites to research job candidates. And a New York Times article noted that 75 percent of recruiters are required to do on-line candidate research – and 70 percent have rejected individuals as a result.
Social Media Background Checks
An increasing number of companies have added social media background checks to their candidate screening criteria. In fact, one company – Social Intelligence – focuses exclusively on these checks to assist employers with their hiring processes. Their reports show not only accolades, achievements and honors, but also any questionable activity on the part of a prospective employee.
Interestingly, Social Intelligence told the Times that less than one-third of damaging on-line information comes from popular platforms such as Facebook or twitter. Much more is found during deep Web searches that lead to smaller sites like tumblr or to Yahoo user groups, e-commerce sites and bulletin boards.
Clean Up Your Image
Here are steps you can take to create a positive on-line image:
- Do a self-Google search. You may be surprised at what you find. List any questionable photos, comments, emails or information, along with where you found it, for future reference. Once you’ve surveyed it all, take action on each item.
- Change your privacy settings, so only close friends and family can view your personal information.
- Create a limited access list for people you don’t know well – or at all. This is a good place for coworkers or potential employers who have sent you friend requests and put you in the awkward position of either declining (and offending them) or accepting (and putting your personal life on display).
- Reevaluate your friends. Go through your friends list and see who either shouldn’t be there or should be moved to your limited access list.
- Edit your photos, not just on Facebook, but even in on-line photo albums. Remove any that are questionable. If you don’t own the photos, un-tag yourself and ask the person who posted them to take them down.
- Self-censor. Remove and refrain from status posts or comments that may be construed as racist, sexist, culturally insensitive. Similarly, reevaluate your groups and remove yourself from any that could be considered offensive.
On a Positive Note
Take online action to make yourself more appealing to potential employers – and highlight your best features. Avoid being negative or bad mouthing anyone, including former employers. Share positive thoughts and activities, such as running a 5K charity race or doing community volunteer work.
Everything posted on line – by or about you – helps define who you are as a person and potential employee. It’s your Internet calling card, so make it work in your favor.
For additional career building tips and guidelines, read our related posts or contact the expert team at PrideStaff Modesto. We’re here to help!