Remember! Employers use social media too, don't get caught out

WatchingYou

You can say it sounds a lot like snooping, but like it or not, employers are actively using social media to get information on candidates. In fact, a recent survey has shown that up to 93% of employers perform social media checks on potential hires!

Employers will often:

  • Google your name (which most often brings up your LinkedIn or Facebook profiles)
  • Search for you on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter
  • Add your number and look at your profile picture on WhatsApp and other messaging platforms

And the information they're looking for is:

  • Mutual connections - who can they talk to about you?
  • Additional details not on your CV
  • To check that everything ties in with your CV
  • Signs and information that you're a good candidate…or a not-so good one

Social media checks are often done even before the interview process, so it's all the more important to make sure you've tidied up your online presence before applying to a potential employer.

To give the best possible impression you need to:

1. Change your privacy settings

Most social networks have privacy settings. This helps you decide which posts can or can't be seen by your friends or other people in the social network. What's alarming is a lot of people don't use this feature or simply don't know that this exists. If in doubt, view your profiles from "Incognito" or "Private" modes in your web browser to get an understanding of what other people can see.

2. Clean your profiles

Change your photo to a sensible and professional-looking one (even on messaging platforms like WhatsApp make sure it's sensible). Posted a couple of wild or cringe-worthy pictures after attending a party? Delete them. Ranted in a post about your former co-worker, boss, or your landlady? Erase. Erase.

Cleaning your profile doesn't mean you have to change your personality. Rather, it means taking a step back and re-evaluating all those moments you've shared with the world via social media. Past blunders, even if it's just one photo or post, can sink your chances of landing a perfectly good job.

3. Make sure you have social media presence

If you're worried about your social media content and currently thinking of deleting your profile entirely, think again. Although it might be better to have no online presence at all than a bad one, this won't get you your dream job anywhere now or in the future.

Many companies will doubt a candidate who doesn't have any social media presence at all. In fact, in a survey by Career Builders, 57% of employers are less likely to interview someone if they can't find them online. Leave good online footprints. Show future employers that you're someone dependable, qualified, and perfect for a role.

4. Make a good impression

Most employers look for reasons to hire their candidate, rather than reasons not to hire. If you want to go the extra mile in impressing a hiring manager, then create an online presence that will increase your chances of employment. Post and comment on things related to the industry you're applying to or even just share articles that help to show your level of professionalism or genuine interest in a field of work.

You can also highlight positive co-worker relationships by asking people to endorse you or write a recommendation on LinkedIn. However, remember to keep the information up to date and relevant to the role you're applying for.


In social media, the whole word is watching. So check your privacy settings, test what information is out there about you and clean your profiles before you start applying!

Armela Escalona

Freelance blogger who writes about work, tech and productivity

6 min read

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