Do a quick Google search and you can find just about anything—whether it’s fact or fake news is for you to decide. But when it comes to employers searching for a potential new hire, what they find could sway their decision one way or the other. Does posting a bikini photo mean you won’t get the job? It shouldn’t affect the decision. If a company doesn’t hire you because of something like that, you probably don’t want to work in that quick-to-judge environment anyways (see: the recent case of Emily Clow that made headlines). That said, if you have public social media accounts, you have to remember that on top of reviewing your resume, it’s likely the company will give your online profiles a peek. Does this mean they will or won’t hire you based off your posts? In most cases, no. But it’s certainly something to keep in mind when applying for a new job, as your channels are a reflection of who you are.
We asked Teneshia Jackson Warner, author of The Big Stretch and founder and CEO of EGAMI Group, an award-winning integrated multicultural marketing and communication agency, to weigh in on the topic:
Should you go private if you're applying for jobs?
“Let me start by reminding you of one of the key components of what makes a personal brand: your reputation. Your personal brand is built through a series of interactions including how you conduct yourself, how you portray yourself, and ultimately, what you are known for by others. Social media is a powerful tool to shape your personal brand in the mind of others. Remember, your brand is not what you say it is, it’s actually what others say it is. With that said, you should treat your social media channels accordingly. Review your channels and ask yourself these questions:
· Do these images portray the brand in the way I would like others to perceive it?
· Are my interests, passions, and point of view portrayed, and do these things align with what I want to be known for in the marketplace?
· Are there any images, conversations, or statements that I would be embarrassed by if my employer, potential employer, business partner, investor, etc. were to view?
If you can’t answer the aforementioned questions in the affirmative—by that I mean, if you are not confident that your public social media images are building a brand you want to be known for—then I would recommend having your social platforms set to private.
· Review your Twitter account and ask yourself: Are you proud of the voice, point of views, and personality that is showcased via Twitter? If you are, then great—keep it public. But if you’re a bit embarrassed by some of the content or comments, you have two choices: clean up the posts that are questionable, or go private.”
Can you explain how social media profiles play a part in hiring?
“I’ll use a personal example. As the CEO of a New York-based marketing firm EGAMI Group, I’m constantly looking to identify A-List, rock-star talent. Typically, the first few steps our firm will take when a candidate’s resume is submitted is as follows:
· Review the resume.
· Google the candidate. Typically, social media handles come up in the search.
· Review the candidate’s LinkedIn profile to understand job history and review who they are connected with, and also to see if we are connected to some of the same people.
· If there are shared connections, we might potentially speak with some of those people to get additional background references on the individual.
· Review all social media platforms to get an idea of who they are personally and what their interests and passions are.
· Lastly, we speak with referrals given by the candidate.
When you look at the above steps, you will notice that the majority of them have a digital-search component. So social media definitely plays a key part in the hiring process. Let’s get those social platforms in tip-top shape and make sure they portray the best of your personal or professional brand.”
What’s most important is making sure you feel comfortable with the images, captions, and content that’s displayed on your personal profiles. If doing a profile clean-out helps paint an overall better picture of what you stand for, then by all means, cleanse away as you’re applying for a new job. Or, go private until you’ve found something new. To each their own.