It’s become an accepted fact that recruiters and hiring managers will review your social media profile before hiring you. According to Jobvite, 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.
It’s also become an accepted fact that you need to be careful about what you post on social media for that reason. Despite that, on the world’s most popular social network, jobseekers continue to make the same mistakes.
A public profile
The most obvious and oft-repeated piece of jobseeker advice on Facebook is to keep it private, so we won’t dwell on this. However, candidates and jobseekers continue to leave their Facebook accounts public and continue to miss out on opportunities because of it. Employers will judge your behaviour on social media and allow it to affect hiring decisions. Don’t assume that everything you have up there is fine or that your job search won’t be affected. Make your profile private and avoid the risk.
Only limiting previous posts
If you are changing your privacy settings make sure that you change them for ‘past posts’ as well as ‘future posts’. The first privacy option you are offered is to limit access to future posts, if you only make that change users who aren’t friends with you will still see any posts before you made the change. Make sure you go through each of the privacy settings available and try viewing your profile ‘As public’ to see exactly what a hiring manager can and can’t see.
Not managing tagging
It’s also important to manage images and posts that you are tagged in. You might be incredibly careful about what you post on social media but you can’t stop your friends posting that hilarious picture from last year’s holiday that you don’t want anyone to see. Even if you’re not in the picture or not involved in the post you are tagged in, there is an implied connection when you are tagged. An employer will look at your profile to get to know you’re personality, they don’t know which posts are really ‘you’. Facebook allows you to review all tags before they post to your timeline so it’s worth allowing yourself a little bit of creative control.
Forgetting the profile picture
A final point on privacy, your profile picture and banner image will remain public even after you change the above settings, so make sure they both send the right message. There is no point going through your privacy settings and managing how you are tagged in images if your profile picture was taken towards the end of a particularly heavy night out.
Too much activity
Of course, this assumes that there will be something in your Facebook activity that makes you unemployable. Most people’s Facebook profiles are far less interesting than that. However, there are other ways that wholly innocuous posts can get you into trouble – one of which is posting too often. If you allow an employer to see what you post you are also showing them how often you post. Even if you consider yourself a light social media user, a hiring manager who sees Facebook activity during office hours might disagree.
LOLs don’t get jobs
Those same innocuous comments might carry more weight than you think too. You have no idea what kind of preferences or values a hiring manager may take with them when they view your social media profile. If you use a lot of text speak or abbreviations in your Facebook posts, that may be a problem for a hiring manager who is a real stickler for grammar or spelling. You know that you would never use that style in work but the hiring manager doesn’t know that.
Liking and sharing
It’s also important to be careful what you share or like on Facebook. Again you don’t know what people will infer from that like or share. You might be sharing something ironically or adding a sarcastic in-joke in a share to a friend’s timeline, a hiring manger will never be able to spot that.
You should already follow the rule of thumb that you don’t publish anything online that you wouldn’t be happy to see in a national newspaper. The problem is, what you post isn’t the only thing that might affect your job search. Take control of what people to see about you on Facebook and you will always put your best foot forward, IMHO.
(Grates doesn’t it?)