Since its inception, social media remains a great platform for most people, including employees and job seekers, to share happenings in their lives. However, a slip in your social media activity can ruin your chances of being hired. Besides searching for potential employees online, hiring managers are increasingly scouring social media activities of potential hires.
While you may think that your potential employer won’t check your online activity, a study concluded that approximately 84% of recruiters hire through social media while 43% screen potential job seekers’ social profiles and search engines. The same survey found that 36% of hiring companies have disqualified potential hires due to their online activities. That said, consider the following to avoid losing employment over online activity.
1. Poor Digital Identity
In the overly digital world, knowing your online identity can be challenging. While you may contribute a small percentage of your identity on common platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, the other percentage comes from friends sharing your pictures together and posting comments on your picture uploads. Total strangers, such as former classmates, former colleagues, and long-time neighbors, might also contribute to your identity.
Therefore, to be on the safe side, ensure that you identify what’s out in the digital world. This is what employers do when researching your online activity. Do a basic search of your name as it is and with variations. If you have a common name, you might come across a lot of online material from people with the same name. Therefore, be creative and drill down to specifics about your name, such as including your hometown, school, and employer in the search terms.
Once you have narrowed down the search results, open the top 20 links and read carefully. This information is what your potential employer will be reading. Also, pay attention to other online users who popped up in your search in case of mistaken identities. If your profile has some negative elements, find ways of creating a clean, professional profile on social media platforms.
You can achieve this by creating variations of your name until you find a combination without negative associations. You can claim it and use the name to create profiles on other social media platforms. Use the profile to forward your resume, job applications, and email address. You should also implement effective social media risk management practices to safeguard your new “clean” name.
2. Unprofessional Social Profiles
While there are no rules provided by employment laws guiding what hiring managers should look online, some red flags may cost you employment. For instance, while it is okay to share wedding photos toasting champagne, sharing your shirtless photo engaging in a keg stand is unnecessary and doesn’t reflect well.
You should also make your online presence highly benign. Understand that sharing your religious, political, and sensitive personal ideas may contribute to losing a job opportunity. While this isn’t fair or legal, it is the reality. Therefore, clean all your social profiles with interesting uploads and comments.
Carefully review all your timelines and delete all comments and dirt that your recruiters shouldn’t see. If you can’t delete the items yourself, simply get in touch with platform managers and request deletion. Also, check tagged Facebook and Instagram posts and untag yourself if they contain negative and unprofessional content.
3. You Are Private
Hiring managers become highly suspicious if they don’t find you online. While some candidates think that being a no-show is better than negativities, recruiters may think you have something to hide. Therefore, it is good to have some online presence with a perfect balance between personal and professional personas.
Keeping your Facebook or Twitter accounts private is good, but ensure that you have a searchable name that displays your profession and other good qualities. Fortunately, almost every social and networking channels have privacy settings that allow users to restrict visibilities. Therefore, you can limit what your online friends share with you or what appears on your profile.
4. Buying Fake Followers
According to social media experts, followers are just but vanity metrics without true meaning. For instance, social media users followed by industry leaders and influencers in the industry are beneficial than candidates with a huge following. As such, you will have an advantage with your small but impactful following compared to other candidates with millions of followers.
That aside, potential employers use several tools to identify social media users with fake followers. Being caught with fake followers is easy and can cost you the opportunity. Employers, especially digital entrepreneurs, focus on how you use your social media presence to build relationships and interact with your followers. Apart from followers, employers will prioritize you if you participate in relevant groups.
Searching for a job is a two-way street. While job seekers are searching for potential opportunities, potential employers also learn about candidates from their online activities. Therefore, take note that your social media activity can put your best foot forward or disqualify you from the opportunity. If you have issues with any aspect of employment law, consult HKM employment lawyers for the best guidance.