Social media allows you to connect with friends, family, and
colleagues, but it can also share unintended information with employers. Employers
are using social media to get a glimpse of who you are beyond your resume,
cover letter, or interview. A 2018
CareerBuilder survey found that 70% of employers use social media to screen
candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to
check on current employees.
WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE LOOKING FOR
According to the survey, employers are looking for
- information supporting a candidate's
qualifications for the job;
- evidence of a candidate’s professional online
- what other people are saying about the candidate;
- reasons not to hire the candidate.
WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE FINDING
More than half of the employers surveyed (57%) said they had
found something that led them not to hire someone, specifically posts or
behaviors that included the following:
- Provocative or
inappropriate photographs, videos, or information
comments related to race, gender, religion, and so forth
- Lies about
- Poor communication
- Comments bad-mouthing
their previous company or colleague
- Sharing confidential
information from former employers
Many employers have social media policies in their employee
handbooks, and there are many examples
of people getting fired for things they posted online. According to the
study, 34% of employers found content that caused them to discipline or even fire
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO
Have an online presence.
You may think that not having an online presence would make
it easy to avoid all this scrutiny, but the study found that 47% of employers
said they wouldn’t call a person for an interview if they can't find them
online. More than a quarter of employers say it's because they like to gather
more information before calling a candidate, and 20% say it's because they
expect candidates to have an online presence. Although you don’t need to have a
profile on all social media platforms, having a LinkedIn profile is an
excellent place to start.
Build a strong professional brand.
branding is the process of creating a "mark" around your name or
your career. You can build your professional brand by developing specific
strengths and messages that people remember about you. It is how you express
and communicate your skills, personality, and values—in-person and online. To
be truly memorable and impactful, your brand should represent your authentic
self. It is the culmination of what makes you unique. A professional brand can
help you (a) use the right tone and serves as a reminder of what you are online
to talk about and (b) avoid topics that are outside of that scope when you post,
share, and comment. For example, if you use your social media for marketing
your ENT practice, you’ll want to have a professional, reliable tone and share
information about early hearing loss detection.
Keep your personal and professional accounts separate.
All your social media accounts should not be accessible by
everyone (i.e., the Facebook account you’ve had since college shouldn’t be the
one you post your career information on now). It is best to have separate
professional and personal profiles. Then, accept only family and friend
requests on your personal accounts (e.g., Facebook) and direct colleagues and
coworkers to your professional accounts (e.g., Twitter or LinkedIn). Keeping
your colleagues and employers from seeing posts or pictures from your personal
accounts can help avoid questions or concerns.
Posting online can build your brand and your network.
However, it’s easy to post an offhand comment that a prospective employer could
see. ASHA’s Civility Digital Toolkit offers some guiding principles
to help you build and demonstrate your online leadership skills. Remember, the
words, messages, and behaviors you express on social media reflect on your competencies
and conduct—as well as the values and credibility of the professions. So,
before your post, stop and think about who will see this and how they will perceive
You should limit who can see your posts or images. Enable
your privacy settings to share your profile, posts, and comments only with your
connections. Make sure you can’t be tagged in posts or photos without being
notified and giving your permission. Be vigilant about any privacy changes on
your social media platforms, and adjust your settings as needed to maintain or
increase your privacy.
No matter what, someone could share your profile, posts, and
comments with an employer. Always post and comment with that in mind. Model
professionalism and civility on social media—because you never know who’s