According to a survey conducted by Hootsuite, released in January 2022, there are now 4.62 billion people using social media around the world, which is one enormous resource for employers to use to research candidates - and they are not afraid to make the most of it.
YouGov said in 2017, that almost half of employers checked their candidates’ social media (especially LinkedIn and Facebook) before interviewing them. With almost 20% rejecting an applicant based on what they posted. The highest stated reasons for rejection were offensive language, references to drug use, and bad spelling/grammar.
Whether this is fair or not is debatable; after all, the younger end of the candidate pool have lived their whole lives with social media and played out their embarrassing teenage years online for all to see. But it happens, so… what can you do to negate any negative impact of your digital footprint?
Clean it up
Think about what potential employers want from their candidates. No one is asking you to be a paragon of virtue or completely hide your personality, but maybe hide those embarrassing teenage party photos and that time you had a rant about your boss who annoyed you.
Get it checked
Have a friend google you and see what they can find out about you. Did you know, for example, that on Facebook, you can view your profile from the point of view of someone you are not connected to?
Tighten your privacy settings
Most platforms give you the ability to lock down your profiles. Make sure your profiles are as private as possible. And remember, on some platforms, you can control or use approval settings to control what other people can tag you in, so make the most of this. More information on this can be seen in this blog by Online SOS.
Use your social media for positive impact
Follow professional and industry pages and groups. Connect with potential companies and use the connection to network and build a relationship with them. Share their content and comment on the things you think they do well.
Create a professional public persona
Start a blog or social media page that covers a hobby or cause that you would be happy for employers to judge you by. It doesn’t have to be big and glossy. Platforms such as Blogger or Weebly are free, and you could also regularly blog on LinkedIn.
In conclusion, don’t panic if your misspent youth is all over your Twitter page or your slightly regrettable photos are there for all to see on Instagram. Follow the steps above to reduce any possible negative impacts of your digital footprint.
If we can help you with any aspect of your job search, get in touch.