It’s not surprising that the number of employers using social media to screen prospective employees continues to increase. In the past, if HR wanted to learn more about us than we might have volunteered during the interview process, they were limited to requesting a list of references. But today, HR departments have greater insight into our professional and personal lives, thanks to the digital records we, our friends and families leave behind in social media.
Think about it this way, if we were to compare the candidate screening process of today with, say, the security checkpoints at the airport, that list of candidate references that HR once depended on would be like the old-school baggage X-Ray machine; whereas today’s social media enabled candidate research is a full-body scan … plus a pat down! They can learn a lot about you!
Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and personal blogs all help create an image of a person – their interests, opinions, experiences and relationships are all there. This includes that series of drunken selfies your college roommate posted 7 years ago. Just because you’ve erased those memories doesn’t mean the proof isn’t still floating around in cyberspace. With just a few clicks employers can easily summon the good, the bad and the ugly and easily use that to form opinions about you and your employability.
Some great advice is to “Google” yourself. See what comes up. You may be surprised. Also, take time to use the feature on Facebook that allows you to view your page as “public.” This will quickly show you what pictures or post “non-friends” can see.
The most important thing to remember is that what you post online can never be erased. Ever. The good news is that ss individuals we have control over what we post and share online. So before you Tweet that less-than-flattering rant, the one punctuated with the colorful language, or post to Facebook any photo you wouldn’t want your mom to see, think twice. That information may very well form the basis of an opinion someone makes down the road, and could keep you from landing a great job.
Instead, take control of your social media presence and create the kind of online representation that could help get your foot in the door and even land that dream job.