In this day and age, it’s common for potential employers to scope out job applicants on social media. Some employers even require applicants to include their social media handles in the application so that it is easy for the employer to find the applicant on all the platforms.
As a manager responsible for hiring personnel, I have often done this myself. Once an employee is hired, a lot of investments are made of both time and money. It’s important to get the hire right the first time.
But, how do you know you’re making the right choice? Who is the applicant really? Some people are exceptional at the interview process, turning on the charm and presenting a persona, but when starting the job, the person’s character changes. I’ve witnessed that first hand.
As an employer, one of the best ways to gauge a person’s true character is to see the type of things they share on social media.
Applicants should be well-aware by now that employers do this and to ensure that your social media presence is as professional as your physical appearance when you appear for an interview. Additionally, future coworkers, opposing counsel, potential clients, opposing party clients, and others may also search for you on social media. For the same reasons as cleaning up your social media for employers, it’s important to also have a professional social media presence for any other professional party who may be searching for your Facebook profile.
Not sure if your social media presence is professional enough? Here are a few tips on how to clean up your social media platforms to put the most professional face forward that you can.
There are two main kinds of photos on your Facebook page: the kind you post of yourself, and the kind others post of you. Even if all the pictures you’ve posted of yourself are professional, if friends have tagged you in a less-than-professional light, employers and potential clients can still see that.
One good rule of thumb is if you would be embarrassed for your mom to see the photos or for the photos to be published on the front page of a newspaper, then chances are they shouldn’t be on social media at all. If you want to keep them, go ahead and download them and save them, then delete them from your page so that there’s no chance a potential employer or other professional acquaintance can see those photos.
Don’t forget to also censor what you share from your own page. That memory you posted from your wild college days may seem tempting to share now, but especially if you’re job hunting, you may want to leave that memory shared privately with those friends and not on a public platform.
Beliefs, Rants, And Sense Of Humor
This one can be tricky. It’s important, of course, to be true to who you are, but if your beliefs can be a bit on the extreme side, it may be helpful to tone down some of your page while job hunting. Let me give you an example.
A very good friend of mine married a guy who in his every day life strives to take care of his family, loves his job, and loves his wife. All great qualities. However, on social media, he reposts graphics, memes, and other items that are cruel, crude, and plain rude.
I was absolutely shocked by what I saw on his social media page as he presented as a person who was careless, thoughtless, and unkind versus the solid guy I believed him to be.
Potential employers are usually not only looking for someone who can do the demands of the job but also culturally fit into the workplace. Someone who is going to be a walking Human Resources violation and a liability is likely not going to get the job.
Be careful about things you’ve posted that may seem funny to you or just “stating facts,” but which instead can actually be a major turn-off, especially in a professional setting. Keep in mind as well that as an attorney, you are an officer of the court. There are expectations for professional conduct and responsibility when you serve as an attorney.
Like sharing your sense of humor, sharing your political beliefs can also be a tricky subject. Again, be yourself, but be mindful of how you present your beliefs on social media. If you are applying for a job where the culture of the workplace is based in kindness and respect but you’ve posted or reposted rantings on social media calling the other party derogatory names, your chances of getting that job may be decreased. It is certainly possible to share your political beliefs without being antagonistic or disrespectful. That matters.
If your political beliefs on social media are presented in a negative way, you should probably scrub those from your page and be mindful of the overall tone of your platform.
The reality is also that some workplaces may negatively view your particular political affiliation. When job hunting, be careful about what kinds of information on your life you’ve made public.
Social Media Is Part Of Your Personal Brand
Your social media presence can be considered a reflection of who you are as a person, your likes, dislikes, and beliefs. Those are all important things an employer would want to know when deciding whether to hire you. You won’t be a fit for every workplace, but you can certainly improve your chances of being hired by not posting things on social media that will be a turn-off for potential employers.
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