Yes, Your Potential Employers are Checking your Twitter

Location: 
Richmond, Virginia
United States
US

Having employers check social media sites during the interview process is nothing new to most people. Some employers even continuously check in on their employee’s social media sites to make sure that they’re maintaining a good image according to Jonathan Margolis of Financial Times. Both the Millennial generation and Generation Z were raised with technology at their fingertips, the job markets are responding to the change and finding ways to screen their applicants.   

Many applicants hear about upcoming job offers through social media, so it should be no surprise that businesses use that same tool in order to get a well-rounded image of their applicants. CareerBuilder states: “70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring.” However, social media are not the only places that look towards in order to find more information on their applicants, forums and a quick Google search can also provide valuable information such as what you really focus on or what your opinion is on everyday things.   

Take a second and look at your social media profiles and see if you have the following red flags that indicate to employers that you might not be fit for the job:

  • Inappropriate Images - A general rule for online content is as follows: Would you show your grandmother that post? Yes, you might want to share pictures of a crazy party with your followers that may include illegal activities or gestures, but remember that other people can see those posts too. Those people could be the ones determining whether or not you get to the next stage of the hiring process.
  • No Social Media Presence - This one might sound a bit confusing, but too little social media presence can actually be harmful when being screened. Because social media has made it so easy to connect with one another, not being able to be effortlessly found can create a red flag.
  • Derogatory Comments - Generalizing statements, in general, should be avoided. Posting negative comments about race, religion, gender, etc., is hate speech and is considered a risk for the company. Additionally, look at the pages you follow or the posts that you “like,” they can tell an employer more than your posts.

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So what can you do to make sure that you pass the social media screening that more and more employers are doing? Follow the following tips:

  • Look through your tagged posts - You might have gone through the clean-up process for your social media sites, but if you’re still tagged in inappropriate posts that are hateful, or include drug or alcohol paraphernalia, your hard work may be for nothing. 
  • Filter your posts if possible - Facebook offers features for you to be able to choose who sees your content, but it would be safe to just completely limit your posts to just your friends. Although Twitter does not offer a similar feature, you can put your account on private, or mark yourself as unlisted from searches. All social media sites should have similar privacy features that can help you! 
  • Create a separate account for your work life - If you’d still like to have employers know what you are up to, create a profile that is related to the field you’d like to be in and that shows your personality as well. If you’re not comfortable having social media available to them, make sure you update your LinkedIn! 

In short, yes your future employers are looking at your online presence, but you can easily go through your posts and delete anything that might be considered controversial. Also, be sure to keep in mind the tips mentioned above so that you can better prepare for your next social media screening during a job hunt!