Should Candidates ‘Clean Up’ their Social Media Accounts When Looking for a Job?

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While there may be new rules on the horizon, currently it is pretty common practice when you want to know more about somebody the first place to turn is social media.

While LinkedIn is the first port of call in a professional environment – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are also used by a lot of employers to research potential new hires online. Some reports suggest that as many as 60% of overall employers do this, and you can expect this amount to be higher in the tech industry or in areas like marketing where employers tend to be very internet savvy.

For candidates then, this can present an interesting question: should they allow things like their Facebook account to be publicly viewed by people they don’t know, and if they do, should they go through and remove anything that doesn’t help them with the professional image they want potential employers to see?

Accounts That Are Clearly ‘Yours’
You may use aliases for things like Twitter, Instagram, forum memberships, dating sites and your blog, which will mean anyone searching for information on you based on a job application wouldn’t automatically find them. You could argue that even if they did, because these things aren’t linked to your name, they represent areas of your life that will never reflect on your employer and so are effectively not their concern.

However, if you have any of your accounts under your real name you can assume these may be found. If accounts like these that are obviously yours are set to be searchable by general internet users and some or all of your profile can be displayed to people you don’t know, then you can assume that potential employers will be checking it out. You can, of course, change your privacy settings if you don’t like the thought of people doing this, but this makes it hard for people you want to connect with to find you, and if it is hard to find out anything at all about you online, employers may see this as worrying!

Things to Remove or Hide
Given people may be investigating your social media accounts, you might want to review them and take down anything you think might give a negative impression. No employer expects their potential hires to live like monks, so there is no need to worry about every picture of you on a night out or every time you swore in a post, but there are some things you should probably get rid of, for instance any strongly controversial or political stuff you’ve said or shared, anything negative about your previous employers or about work in general, and anything that is a little too personal (like any rants about your ex you posted on Facebook after a nasty break up!).

People do generally understand that what they see on sites like Facebook is not intended to be someone selling themselves as a model employee, so they will expect you to look human, complete with silly shares, pictures of your cat and selfies where you are drinking massive cocktails.

However, remember that common sense is a very desirable trait, so rather err on the side of caution than lose the chance of your dream job for something silly.


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2018-04-10T18:38:46+00:00 31/07/2017|Categories: Recruitment Articles|

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