How To Keep Your ‘Digital Life’ Professional Before That Interview

Published: By

Your social media profile says a lot about you to potential employers. Make sure it’s saying the right things.

You’re up for a travel agent job and now your interviewer has asked to see your social media profiles. You flinch because your Facebook account shows just how much fun you had at your friend’s bachelor party a few weeks ago. Your Twitter feed is filled with not-so-professional comments about the guy you like and how horrible your last boss was. Let’s not forget the questionable remarks that you left on a sports entertainment website. Once your potential employer gets a look at these sites, you can probably kiss your job offer goodbye.

READ: How to Turn Around a Negative Interview Question

In 2014, a Rhode Island police department wanted to hire applicants and set up a Facebook page dedicated to the recruitment effort. By liking the page, the department was able to see applicant’s photos and posts. Harris Poll studies have shown that fifty-two percent of employers use social networking sites to research candidates and that figure is growing every year, but don’t give your job offer that kiss off just yet.

There are steps you can take to fix your social media profiles and increase your odds of getting that job.

Google Yourself

Think your new company can’t find out about your racy photos or questionable comments? Think again. Odds are that human resources is already doing their background check on you, whether they tell you or not, so the best thing you can do is beat them to the punch. Do a Google search (and use other search engines too) on yourself and see what’s out there. You also might discover someone else with the same name posting their own questionable material. The employer might think that this is you.

Email Search

If you have given the interviewer your email address, be sure to search for that too.

Delete, Delete, Delete

Sign in to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and any other sites you’ve used and take down the photo where you danced in your underwear with a lampshade on your head and anything else that is embarrassing, racy or in any way problematic. You should also untag yourself from photos you do not want anyone to see. On Twitter, one program, Martani’s tweet deleter, removes thousands of unwanted tweets from your profile. On Google, you can ask them to remove the pages from their results. On Facebook, deleting is the best way to go because once your posts are gone, they are gone. You can also change your visibility to private.

Get it Done

Do all of searching and deleting before you go on your interview. Scrambling to accomplish this after your interview is bound to backfire.

Don’t go Overboard

It’s OK to have family photos on your pages and to have interesting hobbies and comments. As a matter of fact, removing too much might work against you.

Don’t Lie 

If during an interview something comes up and you are asked about a photo or a comment that was found on a profile, don’t beat around the bush. Fess up and move on.  You can say, “Yes, those photos were from a very fun event in my friend’s life during off hours, but you can be assured that this didn’t affect my work responsibilities.”

Related Articles

The 4 Toughest Interview Questions (And How to Answer Them)

Questions You Shouldn't Answer on an Interview

What to Wear for the Interview

Back to listing