It would be easy to assume that the employer is only going to decide who to hire based on their CV – but you’d be wrong. There are other factors which must be considered before you apply for a job.
Did you know that 70% of employers check social media before hiring? And 48% check the internet for their existing employees. That’s almost a guarantee that whoever you apply too will check your online presence at some point. But what is the employer looking for?
Cleaning up your social media accounts before you apply for a job is the key factor here. You want to make a good first impression, and you don’t want the employer find something inappropriate. Drunken photos from nights out could potentially put an employer off as they may see you as someone who doesn’t take their career seriously. You may be someone who’s prone to having a lot of Monday’s off work because of a hangover.
The employer cannot get your personality from your CV and they want to get to know more about you. Will you fit into the company’s culture? Are you a family person? What do you like to do outside of work? Your social media account may give the employer more of an insight and will influence their decision.
Here’s how to check your online presence before you apply for a job.
Start with Google
Have you ever tried searching for your name on Google? If you were a famous celebrity then you’d probably need a few years to trudge through all the content. But for us mere mortals we are likely to see either a few posts or pictures, or nothing at all.
You need to check your name in Google to see if anything comes up that may influence the employer’s decision. If you find nothing at all – then great, there’s nothing to worry about. You are looking for something obvious and specific that may pop up to whoever searches for you. It could be a forum that you commented on or a picture from an old employers contact page. In any case, make sure you click through every mention of you and see what happens.
If you commented on a forum many years ago and you don’t feel that it would go down too well with the employer, then contact the site and try and get your comment removed. The same goes for anything else you don’t want to exist online.
We believe in freedom of speech, but certain strong political or religious views could go against the hiring manager’s. Whoever gets to read through your comments may not agree, and the thought of working with you may not sound desirable. – The Career Journal
Facebook is the most likely place an employer will search for you. It’s easy to type in your name and the location, and with just a few clicks they will be flicking through your pics. The employer doesn’t know what you look like, unless you included a photo with your CV, so they may be unable to find you. However, they do have your email which could match up to your Facebook account. If you also have an uncommon name (not John Smith) then they are also likely to find you.
There are two things you can do before you apply. Firstly, you could go through your Facebook account and remove anything you think may go against you. This could take a while, but it’s important if you want to get an interview. The second option is to make your account private, so even if the employer does find you they will be unable to see anything further than your profile picture. Make sure that this picture is appropriate too!
There is a third option that we can throw into the mix – and that’s to allow the employer in and be smart. You could tweak your Facebook account so that it shows your dedication to the industry. You could spend some time and add a few positive pictures in there that show your best side. Family pictures, business pictures, conferences, etc – will all look great and could push you closer to an interview.
Create a LinkedIn profile
You should use the internet to your advantage when job searching. Not only should you check your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account and ensure they are appropriate and professional, you should go one step further – create a LinkedIn profile.
Depending on the industry, most employers expect to see a mention of a LinkedIn profile on a candidate’s CV. This business media platform has been specifically designed to help likeminded professionals interact, share and connect. Many employers also visit this site to headhunt and find the very best candidates.
So create a LinkedIn profile today, or get back in the game if you’ve had one for a while but fail to take advantage of it. You should be connected and sharing almost every day and keeping your commercial awareness to the highest standard.