“Hi John Doe. I’ve had a good look at your resume. You check all the boxes and you seem to fit all the credentials for the position, we just have to do one or two reference checks and we will get back to you. Don’t worry; it’s nothing major, just making sure that everything with you checks out” said the interviewer to the prospective employee.
I can almost guarantee you; the very next step taken, is said interviewer grabbing his laptop and opening Facebook, Twitter and Google to type your name into the search boxes to see what the results may return. Never mind the gleaming references you will receive from the numbers he calls for that packing job that one summer at the Tesco’s you did, or working at the nearest MacDonald’s to help out financially whilst at college, should he be presented with a picture of you, pint in hand, licking a friends face, chances are his attitude regarding whether you checked all the initial boxes may just take a change for the worse.
Keep it private
Now I’m not saying this will be the same for every employee, but should your online profile go along the lines of status updates and Tweets saying “So hung over, can’t be bothered to go to class today” every so often or every second picture showing you flipping off old grannies and downing shots of flaming Sambuca’s, you certainly are not doing yourself any favours with regards to making a sparkling first impression via your online persona, which some may see as the real you.
The easiest way around this is to make sure you keep your information private. Mark your privacy settings to friends and followers only, and try to keep your profile pictures relatively politically correct. Giving your mate a high five at that epic festival you were at, great. Passed out amongst hundreds of beer bottles in a pool of your own vomit, funny for mates, not so funny for would be employees doing a few background checks.
Do some spring cleaning
Now that you have graduated and on the hunt for a job; it is possibly time to do some online spring cleaning. You should be older, and a little bit wiser so un-tagging yourself from the photos which see you in compromising positions won’t see you losing any friends, but may see you not getting that second interview, especially if your photos are accessible by the general public. Delete the old tweets about slagging off your old college professor or fellow students. They were great fun posts at the time, but they are in the past, and no point in having them lying around.
When calling a few weeks later, and being told unfortunately you weren’t selected for the post due to something that was spotted online, you may want to rethink that next status update. Blaming hackers and viruses for all those dodgy posts you made may work, although there is antivirus software for that, but most HR staff weren’t born yesterday.
You don’t have to be a Saint
Be wary of the complete opposite though. A profile that is squeaky clean does stick out. Employees want to know you have your own life socially, so it’s great to see you being active with friends and enjoying life which is how things should be. But a public profile that lacks any interaction screams out major spring clean. Now no need to be paranoid, as this can also be seen as someone who just doesn’t have time for social networking, which is more of a plus than a hindrance. But it is a bit of a hindrance when one of your hobbies listed on your resume is “FACEBOOK!!!”
One of the reasons you are going for that interview post-graduation, is so you can land the job you have always wanted, and spent the last few years studying and working hard for. The last thing you want or need is to stumble at the last hurdle due to a drunken tweet or Facebook photo which an interviewer may inadvertently come across. Take half a day, clean up your online presence. It may be half a day that opens up the door to the rest of your life.
This is a guest post by Andrew Tipp