Before applying for any position, anyone with an active social media (past or present) should consider what a potential employer might find if they were to start searching. What should you delete and how can you do it?
Anyone aged under 35 has grown up with social media, right from their early teens, high school, university and beyond. Unfortunately, this window of time provides many people with countless opportunities to humiliate themselves, most try to take as many of these opportunities as possible - safe in the knowledge that they have a good friend nearby who will document the event for posterity. It has became totally natural and habitual for Millennials to share almost every aspect of their lives, both their successes and embarrassing moments. This was fine when this would win a person friends and followers not when they are looking to impress a potential employer.
However, as this generation step into adulthood and are reaching for more senior professional positions, their social media has become a risk to their careers; it is hard to believe but some employers will not appreciate that someone was both the “Chunder Champion 2009” or the proud owner of the “Most Drunk Most Often 2010” title.
It is estimated that 97% of managers will view a potential employee's social media accounts. They look for curiosity and to judge the character of their potential employee. “Everyone has a past, don’t worry” is the usual response, and that is correct, however not everyone’s past was videod for future employees to watch. The evidence shows that social media matters. A report by jobvite found that 55% of manager have reconsidered a candidate after reading/seeing their social media, and of those that were reconsidered 61% were for negative reasons.
Managers are concerned, not necessarily about the actions themselves but how they might reflect on their decision making. Managers who hire an employee who later turns out to be a poor choice, will be questioned on why they didn’t consider all the information they had at their disposal, including social media.
For example, if an employee were to repeatedly show-up to work drunk, the manager or supervisor would probably be asked why he chose that candidate; considering their Instagram has posts with pictures of the employee outside a bar with the hashtags “#drunk #schoolnight #worktomorrow :( “
The obvious answer to this is to keep social media accounts private but if, like many, people accept colleagues on social media it's good to consider what they might find when they inevitably become nosey and do some digging. In order to ensure that unrepresentative photos or comments that, when taken out of context, makes a candidate appear untrustworthy or worse, it is certainly worth cleaning-up social media accounts.
Here are some key things that should definitely not feature on a public social media account or one shared with current or future employers:
References to illegal drugs
This may appear obvious but is surprisingly common. Any post (photo, video, text update or comment) that refers to taking drugs should be removed from your social media account quickly. This is clearly the most concerning post for potential manager to see.
Posts of a sexual nature
Even if just a comment in text, posts of a sexual nature are not to everyone's taste. While among friends it may of been the norm or a private joke, a sexual comment or picture will generally be seen as a negative in the eyes of an employer (obviously there are certain employers where this will not be the case).
Religious or political opinions
You are entitled you express your opinion and it shouldn’t prevent you from working. That said, opinions expressed forcefully or aggressively are likely to make people nervous, even if they are in agreement with you - delete the non-polite ones. Most people have said something in their youth that they would express much more carefully or totally differently in adulthood. Hindsight is great, only social media lets you use it.
Negative posts about work
Almost unfair, but tweeting about how much you hate your job and how your manager is ugly and looks like a pug, is probably not going to help your case. No one is expected to post about how excited they are for Monday, or how they wish you spend more time in the office - people will assume you are being sarcastic or you are crazy.
Images/videos of stupid decisions
Sadly most people have at least one of these lurking in their social media archives. There is a long list of potential options. Does a company want to hire a new financial officer that once won $10 by proving they can fit inside a public bin? Most of these sort of pictures are taken after alcohol and are worth removing quickly or saving in a private file.
The worst case scenario is that one or all of the above feature and you do not have the ability to remove the post. DeleteNow would always recommend contacting the site administrator and requesting to have the post removed, if that fails or the post in multiple locations then perhaps more drastic action is needed. DeleteNow only need the links to the posts you want removed and will conduct the rest of the service hassle-free. At DeleteNow, we believe It’s not about hiding a person’s past, it’s about ensuring that everybody has the ability to reveal personal details as and when they choose. Our service prevents people being judged on actions that happened years ago and out of context make them appear as something they are not.