Lauren Marinigh

Is Your Social Media Interview Ready?

By Lauren | September 28, 2015 | 0 Comment

You’re applying for a career—and whether straight out of school, or whether you’re just looking to make a move, it’s always important to double check that your social media is just as ready as you are for interviews.

A study in 2012 showed that 37% of employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates, which means two in five companies browse your social media to evaluate you prior to hiring or interviewing you. Now three years later, I can only assume this number has risen as companies become more intuitive with social media, and more HR managers are seeing how social can help with recruitment.

A survey from CareerBuilder found that 51% of employers who research job applicants on social media decide not to hire a candidate.

So how do you know if your social media is prepared for a job hunt? How do you make sure that you’re not going to appear like the perfect candidate on paper, only to be rejected because of what’s on your social profiles? Here are some things to check before you start applying…

1) How private are they?

Maybe you think that your accounts are private, but with Facebook always changing their privacy policy and most people never reading the fine print, it’s important to constantly check what you appear as to someone who isn’t your friend on Facebook. Are certain albums you have set so anyone can see them? What can outsiders view of your profile? Take a look and make sure to alter!

In terms of Twitter and Instagram, many people choose to keep their accounts open—I don’t blame them, I feel like this is the point of these networks, but making sure that what you are posting is appropriate is key. If you feel that some things you post are questionable, even though I recommend you clean up your act, because nothing on social is private, make your accounts private can at least make it a little more difficult for anyone to view what you’re doing.

2) Are they up to date?

If you’re not active on Twitter… delete it! If you aren’t going to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date… delete it! There’s no point in having inactive accounts, and although these platforms can help in your job hunt, if they’re not up to date, and not being used, it could make you look worse.

LinkedIn especially is a key tool for finding a job, especially if you’re applying for job opportunities directly on LinkedIn. Use your profile as a way to showcase even more of your skills and expertise that may not fit on your resume.

Here are some things NOT TO DO on your LinkedIn.

If you’re going to keep Twitter, try updating your bio, and also tweeting about some interesting things that are happening in your industry, or even better, interacting with some of the companies you may want to work for.

Here are some tips on building a Twitter presence that will boost your job search.

3) What do your photos look like?

The biggest mistake I see many people make with their social media profiles is their display pictures. It doesn’t take much effort to get a professional photo taken of you—even if you don’t pay someone to take your headshots, you can easily take a photo dressed professionally in front of a regular backdrop. There’s nothing worse than seeing a persons LinkedIn headshot as a picture of them and their girlfriend/boyfriend, or an awkward sexual selfie.

Here are some tips on choosing the perfect photo for your LinkedIn profile.

Overall your social media can complement your job application, but keep in mind that it is okay to show your personality. Many people believe they can’t have a single photo of them with a drink in their hand, or that shows that they went out for drink at the bar, but the truth is, that’s completely normal and employers will realize that. It’s the photos of you lying on the ground drunk that may do more harm than good. I was once at a presentation given by a man who was a vice president for a large PR agency who had said something along the lines of: “If I don’t see a single picture anywhere of you with a beer in your hand, I probably won’t hire you either.” Employers realize you’re going to have a life and have fun, they just want to know that you aren’t a train wreck, or will misrepresent their company if they hired you.

So all in all—show your personality, but know when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. Recognize that some things may be best for your private Facebook account then your LinkedIn or Twitter that’s open to the world.  Use discretion and common sense.


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