When you’re looking for a job, most people will tell you to clean up your social media. You may want to delete old tweets or ill-advised Facebook posts. Maybe you’ll lock your account, untag yourself from unflattering photos posted by your friends, or create separate public and private accounts.
You might wonder how necessary all this is. What percentage of employers actually check social media before hiring?
The numbers might surprise you. According to a recent study, around 70% of employers use social media to screen job candidates before hiring them.
Social Media Checks Increase
As reported by Business News Daily, around 70% of employers now use social media as part of their screening process for job candidates. This is an increase from 2016 when about 60% of employers looked at social media.
Back in 2006, social media screening was relatively unheard of, with just 11% of employers checking in on job applicants via a social network. Keep in mind that this was before Instagram and Twitter even existed.
Today, the picture has changed quite drastically. Job applicants often apply to potential employers via social media sites like LinkedIn, and in most cases, they’re expected to have at least one social profile.
Why Are Employers Checking Social Media?
There are a number of reasons employers are checking social media profiles during the hiring process. As noted already, many hiring managers and recruiters now use social media themselves to source candidates. Applying through LinkedIn is quick and easy, and it helps employers reach a wide network of potential candidates.
Social media is also a large part of many jobs today. For those in marketing or sales, you may be expected to develop your own personal online brand, in addition to contributing to social media accounts for the company. An employer dropping in on your profiles may be checking to see how social media savvy you are.
Employers may also look to social media to help verify who you are. Can they find a LinkedIn profile, a Twitter profile, and a Facebook profile all linked to the same person? It can help them verify your credentials as well.
Looking for Bad Behaviour
Perhaps the most common reason for employers to check social media is to see if the candidate has engaged in any “bad behaviour.” Recruiters have long been warning job applicants to think twice about posting unprofessional pictures or posts.
For example, a “joke” made in poor taste can be offensive and highly inappropriate. Tweets, photos, or posts that are in poor taste are taken seriously by employers. An employer has the right to fire an employee if they see social media posts that are inappropriate and go against company morals or values.
Should You Be Worried?
Unless your social media timelines are filled with nothing but unprofessional images or questionable “jokes,” you probably don’t have too much to worry about. You should take a few steps to tidy up your social media before a potential employer sees it.
Untag yourself from unflattering photos and delete questionable old posts. If you want increased security, change your privacy settings on your account and individual posts. As you continue with your job hunt, be sure to pay attention to the things you are posting.
Since employers are looking at your social media, make sure to present your best self.