We live in a much more public world today, thanks to the Internet, and there are many more landmines that job applicants can step on. One of the biggest ones is the easy availability and wide use of social media sites. I’d like to specifically talk about the two that hiring managers most commonly use today: LinkedIn and Facebook.
LinkedIn, of course, is the world’s largest professional network, while Facebook offers everyone a free way to store and share virtually any type of personal or professional information. Both provide a convenient way to share information and this is exactly what can make them either beneficial or destructive to your job search efforts.
While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of social media sites available online, LinkedIn and Facebook are the two most likely to be used by hiring managers, primarily because they are the ones on which job applicants will most frequently post information about themselves. Consequently, many hiring managers (myself included) now routinely search for accounts on LinedIn and Facebook for applicants they are considering for an interview.
With LinkedIn, we want to see if there is any other professional information about that applicant that might help us make a hiring decision. Contrary to what the good folks at LinkedIn may want you to think, hiring managers do not typically do cold trolling on LinkedIn looking for qualified candidates to interview. We primarily use it to verify information and see if people know how to present themselves in a professional manner. These means it’s important to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and meticulously written.
With Facebook, hiring manager’s motives are a bit more ominous for the job seeker. Here, we’re looking to see if there are pictures or information posted that may indicate extreme bad judgment, immaturity, or anything that may be potentially embarrassing to the company if that person was hired.
As a job seeker you may be tempted to think that this is personal information that has nothing to do with your qualifications as an applicant. And also, isn’t this an invasion of your privacy? Well, the reality is that anything posted on the Internet is not private – it’s very public. And if hiring managers can see this information, so can your co-workers and your company’s customers. Those pictures you posted of youself partying at the beach on your last vacation may look humorous to you, but potential employers will question your maturity and your judgment if you make these available on your public profile for anyone to look at. This is why I recommend that you post no pictures on your public profile in Facebook. Make them available only to trusted friends. And even then, remember that trusted friends can always copy and repost these photos in other public places.
In today’s world, your online identify can make or break a job offer, so make certain that yours is up to date, cleaned-up and professional.