They shouldn’t affect whether you can get (or keep) a job. Right?
I’m here to tell you it isn’t true. Employers are looking at your social media accounts all the time.
Social media might be as important as your résumé
I spent a couple of years hiring employees for marketing positions, and I always checked their social media accounts. Here are some of thing I was looking for:
1. What can I learn about this person that their résumé won’t tell me
Spend any time sorting through cover letters and résumés, and you’ll soon succumb to mind-numbing madness. One after another, it’s the same staid and conventional information displayed in similar fonts, templates, and sentence structures.
Your number one goal in the application process is getting noticed. You want to stand out (for positive reasons). Unfortunately, most classes, coaching, and blog posts on résumé and cover letter writing push people toward conformity.
I’d often look at Facebook and Twitter to get a better understanding of the person behind the cover letter. What was their real personality like? What were they interested in? How did they communicate?
I’m honestly not weeding out potential applicants here—I just want to get a better sense of who they are.
2. Do they naturally do what I am hiring them to do?
I was hiring people for online marketing, so the first thing I’d do was Google their name. I want to know how well they market themselves. If you’re interested in marketing and don’t really exist online, you might not be a good fit.
Then I’d check their social media accounts to see how they have built their personal social media accounts. And, more importantly, how do they use them? Are they mindful of their own personal brand? You can pretty quickly see when someone intuitively does what you need them to do.
You also can see pretty quickly if they’re careless with their own brand. Do I want to hire someone to represent my interest who’s terrible at representing their own?
3. Are there any red flags?
I wasn’t particularly interested in anyone’s personal life, and I would never not hire someone because their values were different. But there have been times where I have passed on applicants because of social media red flags.
I checked out an applicant’s Facebook page once and there was a picture of them puking on the street outside a bar. The text with the picture said, “Another night of too many Jägerbombs!” I passed on an interview.
Why did I pass? Was it because I am a teetotaler and I was passing judgment on this individual’s personal choices? No. I passed because I was hiring for a social media assistant and this person didn’t have the sense to make their Facebook page private or remove this pic from their wall.
Again, if this person isn’t mindful of how they market themselves, I can’t trust them to market for me.
Here are other red flags that employers have been known to look for:
- Do they badmouth other employers?
- Do they post about illegal drug use?
- Have they lied about their qualifications?
- Do they have terrible communication skills?
- Are they combative and argumentative?
- Have they shared an employer’s private or privileged information?
4. What’s awesome about this person?
When I find a stellar résumé, I’m honestly looking to be blown away by the person’s social media presence. When I check out their tweets or Facebook posts and see an incredible amount of engagement, it’s super exciting.
Amazing stuff I’m hoping to find includes:
- Considerable creativity
- Amazing engagement
- A large social platform
- Great references
- Communication skills that showed they would be a organizational fit
- Compelling communication
No matter what kind of employment you’re seeking, it’s good to remember that your online presence is speaking volumes about you, and what it is saying is completely under your control.
If you’re seriously looking for a job, why not use it to your advantage?