Spring Clean your Social Media Accounts
By Alex Hargreaves
Your enthusiasm to show your Facebook followers how drunk you got at a night club could be the reason why employers aren’t buying your enthusiasm to join their company at your job interview.
In the good old days, you could hit the town with your friends, have a fun night out and not have to worry about the world knowing every little detail of how your evening played out. Unfortunately, those days are over. Fast forward a few decades, everyone is now armed with a smart phone with an in-built camera and a million social media apps. You never know who is going to post what and when it is going to show up on your news feed. Often, ‘friends’ wait to catch you at your worst and turn it into a paparazzi opportunity. Once those cringe worthy photos are snapped, that person has the power to post them wherever they want to. You also have no way to track who is viewing your content. Employers will not give you the opportunity to argue ‘I’m not normally like that!’
Social media has made it extremely easy for people to gain insight into who other people are and how they live their lives. You can have a sense of who someone is without having to meet them face to face or even have a vocal conversation with them. Employers have realized this fact and are actively utilizing social media as a tool for their recruitment process.
A report conducted by Telstra indicated that a quarter of Australian bosses will check job applicant’s social media accounts after reviewing their resume. The study also showed that 2 out of 5 recruiters who use social media to screen their applicants have chosen not to hire someone based on something negative they have seen on their social media accounts (Telstra, 2011). A study by Ranstad concluded that Queensland has the highest percentage of employers in Australia (31%) who check social media accounts of applicants. 65% of Australian employers see social media as a useful tool for recruitment and they believe it should play some role in the recruitment process (Randstad, 2012). This indicates that we can expect to see these figures rise in the future.
With these statistics in mind, it is clear to see why keeping certain parts of your life absent from social media is a wise idea. If you are concerned that you may have some material on your online accounts that will not be very appealing to potential employers, here are some steps you can take to spring clean your social media accounts.
- Start from the beginning
If you have had a Facebook account since you were 15, it is likely that if you scroll to down to the bottom of your wall you are going to rediscover a teenage version of yourself that you thought there was no trace of anymore. That teenage version of you may still linger on your Facebook account. If you have changed your privacy settings since you first got your Facebook, it may be the case that your new posts are set to private but your older ones are not. Do you want the first thing an employer sees when they go to your Facebook page to be a random post from 2011 that reads ‘Skool sux?’ Do an online search of your accounts when you are not logged into them and see what comes up. Time to either delete old content or make sure your privacy settings are consistent across all posts.
- Delete unflattering party photos
Everybody has photos of themselves having a good time online. This is quite normal. However, if the majority of the photos you have of yourself on your social media accounts involve you holding an alcoholic beverage and looking untidy, this may ring alarm bells to employers. Employers want to see images and content which reflects a reliable and goal driven candidate. If you are under the influence of alcohol in most of your photos, employers may see this as a concern that you will put partying in front of work. They do not want to deal with someone who is constantly calling in sick from being too hungover. If your friends have posted photos of you in this condition, kindly ask them to remove them and untag yourself ASAP. If you want to stop unflattering posts from coming through in advance, turn on timeline review. This tool can be found in the privacy settings of your Facebook account and will ask for your permission before other people post on your wall.
- Delete derogatory comments
It is best if you do not share any controversial views you may have about religion, race, and politics online. If you feel that something you want to write about may be offensive to some people, keep it to yourself. Not only will sharing start an ongoing comment war, you will also put off potential employers. Employers want to hire candidates who can deal politely with people from a diverse range of backgrounds. They do not want to have to worry about an employee without an internal filter being offensive and putting the company’s reputation in jeopardy. On the same token, swearing online is also a turn off. Keep offensive language absent from your social media accounts.
Clean up your online image this May and present yourself as someone worthy of being hired.