If you have ever felt lucky not to be a celebrity or politician after they have suffered for their misuse of social media, think again. Although you may not be in the same glitz and glamor boat, there is one situation where everything you have EVER said could be held against you, and not just at the next family gathering. Now more than ever, employers are examining an applicant’s social media presence as an unwritten hurdle to the hiring process. If you are an active, or reckless, social media user, an NSA style social media scrubbing may be what is in order.
The Muse offers sage advice when it comes to managing your social media presence right before an interview, as follows:
Spring Cleaning: Remember the three D’s, Discover, delete and deny. Discover what Google knows about you when you do a name search. Even if you’re name is ubiquitous, a simple cross-reference can find you. Delete any information, pictures, posts, tweets or updates that casts you in an unprofessional light, especially in the categories of alcohol consumption, badmouthing a previous employer, posts that cast doubt on your qualifications, and anything someone may find offensive. Finally, deny anyone access to the posts you want to keep but not share publicly so you can present a nice, public, job-seeking face.
Although you may think, and may even have heard, that whatever happens off company time is yours alone, as Maury Povich would say, “That is a lie.” But it isn’t about controlling your behavior, it’s about managing a company brand. What are the mysterious qualifications an employer is looking for when they comb through your social media presence? They are looking for a person who has a good personality, a polished professional image, someone who demonstrates a wide range of interests, and who has an accurate background that matches their resume.
If you are in the job market this year remember your next boss may be watching so think carefully before posting your beach photos publicly. And if you think you can just erase your social media accounts think again. A person living in 2018 with no social media accounts is a red flag unless you are applying for a job as a Tibetan Monk, then it’s probably ok.