The Social Media Pre-Screening Problem

By Chris Delaney

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Social media is a key part in all our lives, even those without their own personal social media pages can be found on friends, families and colleagues social media pages.

Over the last 2 years more employers are using social media as part of their pre-interview screening process. On social media we share our photos, opinions, videos, places we like and dislike, we discuss our beliefs and ideas and we show our character.

The social media pre-screening problem arises due to the "personal brand" we create online. Often your personal brand is created unconsciously and even though some of the comments and thoughts we add to our social media pages are jokes or told in jest, the employer reading this out of context can create the wrong opinion about you that could cost you your job.

These 6 steps will help crate a personal brand that employers will love:

Step 1. Design Your Personal Brand.

Like any marketing project you need to decide how you want to be seen, what impression you want to give to employers and which keys points (aptitude, opinions, expertise, knowledge, personality) you want others to associate to you and your brand.

Step 2. The Original Search.

Most of us grew up with social media just as it broke out in the 1990’s, some maybe new to an online presence and some younger job hunters have always had social media in their life. It doesn’t matter when social media entered your life what matters is what employers can find out about you. Open up a privacy search page (a private search page will find results based no previous results/cookies) and search for your name alone and separately search for your name + (DOB/Home Town) The results you see we be the likely results the employer will find.

Step 3. Edit the Film.

Most people will find a wide range of results from a private search and you maybe surprise how much information has come from a younger version of you. Some of my clients previously didn’t know about drunken pictures taken on university nights out or old forgotten comments that seem rude without the context. See your own line presence as a film with you as the main character. Go back through your social media pages and delete and edit anything that can create the wrong impression of your character.

Step 4. Add Quality Content.

Think back to step 1 and start to add content and comments that will build your new online brand. As an example if you want to be seen as an expert in your sector start to link to industry articles and add your own expert comments, thoughts and ideas. You can even be critical of others but never rude. Like relevant blog pages, comments and videos. Reflect and record part of you working day emphasising any good work you delivered. Record when you are attending industry conferences, events and meetings with key leaders in the industry. Add anything that relates to the key thing you want to known for in step 1.

Step 5. Use Association.

Follow and befriend other industry leaders and when possible start online public conversations. This way you will be associated with key leaders in your sector and by association your brand will be seen with more authority.

Step 6. Double Check.

Once the above has been completed double check your online presence until you are happy that your social media brand is as a positive expert in your industry. Keep checking your online presence around once a quarter.

Interviewers have a hard decision to make when it comes to the choice of who to interview for the advertised role? Many employers will have several screening steps between the application and job interview and around 9 out of 10 employers now search online to find out more about their perspective employee. And who would you interview someone who comes up online as a professional passionate about his job or an individual who gets drunk every weekend and bad months people online?

Chris Delaney is an Interview Coach and author of The 73 Rules for Influencing the Interview using Psychology, NLP and Hypnotic Persuasion Techniques

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