Finally, that dream job at an amazing company is available, and you’re qualified, excited, and ready to take the leap. You got this!
As part of your pre-interview work, you’ll need to spruce up your LinkedIn profile, make sure you profile pics are all up-to-date, etc… that’s the good stuff. But then there’s those bachelor party pics on Facebook (why did he publish those publicly anyway?!?) and that one time you got into a Twitter battle with a Beltway pundit (uggg, that was really bad idea). What’s a candidate do?
Well it’s really simple, and we’ve all been there. While your social media accounts may prevent you from becoming the next POTUS, thankfully landing a new job has a much lower bar and there are easy ways to clean-up your accounts when you know a recruiter will be snooping around.
It’s legally foggy on whether a recruiter can check your social accounts or not, but in reality, do you really want to take that chance? Polls show that 70% of recruiters look at social media accounts when researching candidates, much in the way your future mother-in-law will, so when you’re interviewing for your next job it’ll serve you well to clean things up a bit.
It’s All About That Base(line)
Call it the professional baseline, or better yet, the Grandma baseline. Are there things on your social accounts that you wouldn’t want your MeeMaw to see? Start there.
My advice: For any public profiles, nix the booze pics, the sexy selfies, and anything even close to being drug related. Make sure you haven’t been bad-mouthing a previous employer or using spotty spelling and grammar, all of which can be edited or deleted if need be. Keep your public content well-rounded for anyone that might wander in, including employers: family, friends, volunteerism, faith, activities, etc… that’s what you want your dream job hiring manager to stumble into.
LinkedIn is the first stop for any recruiter or hiring manager checking you out, you know this, as do a million other bloggers like him, her, and him. So, while I could create an entire post about this, my advice is to just get the big stuff right: Make sure your profile pic is updated, you have a great summary, and clean up your job experience to make it easy for a recruiter to scan. I also recommend sharing a few blog posts prior to the interview, preferably related to the industry/business of the company you’re interviewing with. And it can’t hurt to follow the company and connect with the recruiter, as long as you don’t think your current boss will see it.
The biggest gotcha on Facebook is around photos, and specifically which ones are visible to the general public. Be sure to check which pics are “Public” and which are “Just Friends”, and change the visibility if there something you don’t want anyone to see. Do the same with photos that you are tagged in – you can hide those from your profile as well. Facebook makes it easy to update this setting, and even has a great article about content privacy when you’re looking for a job. Also update what information can be seen by the public, and make it shine: Your profile pic, “About” section, etc. Finally, if you know where you’ll be interviewing, follow that company’s page – they just might notice!
For me, Instagram is the platform I’m the most active on, and I keep it wide open for anyone to see… which is fine, because I only post pics of sunsets, animals, and lighting fixtures (don’t ask!). When you’re prepping for interviews, the easiest thing to do with your Instagram account is make it private – verses deleting it… who does that? Making it private will not only keep a snoopy recruiter out, but means you won’t have to delete those bikini booty pics from vacay. If you’re not going to go the private route, use the same guidelines as Facebook and stop adding strangers until after you land the job.
One of the best ways to connect and network professionally is via Twitter, and as long as you haven’t gotten into flame wars with celebrities or posted aggressive political content, you should be OK. Follow the company, like their tweets, get engaged… they may notice, and you’ll learn a little about the company along the way. Much like LinkedIn, I recommend a great profile pic along with a professional sounding bio.
The temporary nature of Snapchat decreases your exposure to potential employers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tone it down during the interview process. You can ask as many experts as you want, but you’ll get a hodgepodge of advice… so do what feels right. Blocking an employer or hiring manager might send a red flag, so I recommend just keep your content inside the lines until you’re in the door.
There’s no secret sauce here, so just remember to keep that professional baseline in mind and go get that job… just watch what you post from the office holiday party! If you have any unique ways you prep your accounts before an interview, I’d love to hear them in the comments!