Keeping it Clean on Facebook

Facebook Front PageSummer is almost over. Did you have a good time at the beach, partying with friends ‘til kingdom come? Great! It’s always good to relax and have fun during summer.

Now to serious matters; how many of those party-like-a-rock star pictures did you post on Facebook? Those pictures might be a good way to boost your online popularity among friends, but it can also tarnish your reputation amongst potential employers.

Career Builder, with the help of Harris Interactive, surveyed about 2140 hiring managers and recruiters this year, and found out that 2 out of 5 companies (including several big name organizations) check social media accounts before hiring an applicant.

Forty-three percent of recruiters and hiring managers surveyed confirmed that they found something which led them to NOT hire an applicant.

What are Employers Looking for on Your Social Media Accounts?

They’re usually checking if a candidate is a professional (65%), well-rounded (35%), good fit for the company culture (51%) and honest about the qualifications cited in their resume (51%).

Here’s a quick list of things to delete, hide or set as “private” on your social media accounts:

  • Racy photos – Pictures of yourself wearing swimsuits and  posing provocatively won’t help your chances of getting hired.
  • Bad English or text-speak – 30% of recruiters turn down applicants who often post status updates with poor grammar.
  • Bad mouthing previous employers and racist remarks – 30% of survey respondents confirmed they don’t like applicants that bad mouth their previous employers online, while 28% said profiles with scathing remarks against other religions, races and gender are immediately removed from the list of qualified candidates.
  • Lying about qualifications – This is obvious enough, but I guess some candidates don’t know how recruiters are able to trace their qualifications through social media. Think of it this way, if you say you’re from MIT, yet have no friend or follower from that school, then something is definitely wrong.
  • Drugs, alcohol and wild parties – I know these pictures remind you of the good times, but let it be just that, a reminder of the good times. If you posted pictures like this on your account, set the album to “private” or “friends only,” that way potential employers won’t see your half-drunk picture and think twice about your professional merits.

Quick Assignment

Go through your Facebook timeline, then search for comments or status updates that may fall under one of the categories above. Delete or hide them. After that, check your album and tagged photos, and set each album with inappropriate pictures to private.