Why jobseekers must clean up their social media presence

As the social web continues to evolve, companies are also finding more ways to utilize it to boost their business operations. Social media, for instance, has been a beloved marketing platform where brands can create a lasting relationship with their demographic. It’s also a great channel for customer service, enabling them to address customer needs in real-time.

Many companies, on the other hand, have also started using social networking sites when they’re hiring new employees. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr have become valuable resources for HR personnel and headhunters looking for the best people for their companies. Through these sites, businesses are able to research about applicants to find out which ones are truly qualified for their job openings.

Because of this, it’s important for jobseekers to go online and clean up their online identities.

Is it absolutely necessary?

While doing research on the social networks, however, businesses sometimes uncover comments and posts that can discourage them from hiring an applicant. Obviously, a person’s social media activities can say a lot about them—their shopping habits, hobbies and interests, and more importantly, their personalities.

These status updates and posted pieces of content are commonly used to distinguish whether an applicant is a good fit for a company.

A study conducted by the North Carolina State University’s Department of Psychology states that companies recognize that there are links between the online behaviors of job applicants, and the personality traits that can impact the quality of their performance at work. These characteristics include:

  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Emotional stability
  • Openness to experience

As such, finding an album full of drunk photos may be interpreted as the applicant’s lack of self-discipline.

Even existing employees are also placed under a company’s watchful social media microscope, ensuring that they have not said or done anything online that can negatively affect the business’ reputation. Ever heard about comedian Gilbert Gottfried and politician Anthony Weiner (and the whole Weinergate scandal)? They’re just two people who have lost their jobs because of something they posted on the social web.

So yes, it’s absolutely necessary for jobseekers to scour their social profiles and ensure that nothing incriminating is posted that can affect their chances of getting hired.

About time for some spring cleaning!

To ensure that your online presence won’t affect your employment opportunities, you’ll need to go online, inspect your online presence, and then flush out anything incriminating about you. This involves visiting your social media profiles and thoroughly sifting through your personal bio, and, of course, the status updates and photos you’ve posted in the past.

If there is anything you’ve posted in the past that may negatively affect your personality, promptly delete them or at least hide them from your timelines. While you’re at it, update your bios to ensure that your contact details are up-to-date.