It’s not uncommon for hiring companies to use online resources to scan candidates during the application process. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are all easily accessible social networks that can help managers and recruiters get a better understanding of who the applicant really is outside of their resume.
In addition, there are outside screening companies that have specific software that can go beyond the initial glance of a social media profile. Applicants for companies of all sizes are subject to this kind of background check. So, while you think you have blocked or deleted those embarrassing online posts or photos, search engines have not. Search engines, such as Google, index everything with your full name attached, and the information is readily available given the changing privacy settings and screening software used by potential employers.
Don’t freak out just yet! You can clean up your online profiles, but it will take some work. Follow these 3 easy steps to get started:
- Know Your SettingsCheck the privacy settings for each of the social networks you belong to. Make sure your profile is as private as possible so that it cannot be searched. These privacy settings change often, so make sure to keep up-to-date with the latest security measures. Also, delete or deactivate old, embarrassing or unused accounts.
- Search YourselfOnce you’ve cleaned up your profile and have double-checked your privacy settings, type your name into the various search engines. Look beyond the first few results pages to see if you pop-up when searched. If you do pop-up, ensure those profiles are appropriate to potential employers.
- Keep it CleanHere is a simple rule of thumb: if you’re questioning whether or not a picture or post is considered inappropriate, then chances are it is, and you shouldn’t post it. Once you have taken the necessary steps to clean up your online social media profiles, make sure you do not post or tag yourself in anything inappropriate.