Social Media and the Job Interview -Physical Therapist Assistant Career Guide

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Social Media and the Job Interview

Managing Your Public Persona – Facebook, Linkedin in preparation for a job interview

Nearly every individual in America has some presence in the world of online social media, be it a Facebook page, webpage or even a twitter account.

While this can be very useful when it comes to finding a job, it is also important to properly manage any publicly accessible online presence in order to ensure that the individual’s job interviews will be productive.

By doing so, the candidate can maximize his or her chances of being hired after the interview.

Be Honest

Problem solving young student in class roomThere is always a temptation to exaggerate an individual’s accomplishments and qualifications on a social media page. However, this can also result in a potential employer deciding that the candidate is prone to lying and should not be trusted with a job.

For this reason, both outright lies and exaggerations should be avoided when using social media. For example, if the user is about to graduate from college, he or she should state that fact, rather than stating that he or she has already graduated from college.

The reason for this is that a potential employer may check on job the candidate’s qualifications and find out that he or she has not yet graduated from school. Even though this would be an unintentional error, it might prejudice the interviewer against the job seeker.

Of course, this does not mean that the candidate should not place his or her achievements in the best possible light. For example, stating that an individual is about to graduate from college should be accompanied with information about his or achievements and goals. In this way, the fact that he or she is about to graduate is combined with other information that can benefit the interviewer.

Avoid Negative Comments Regarding Previous Jobs

One factor many companies look at very carefully is whether or not a potential employee will bring a proper attitude to work. For this reason, it is very poor practice to include negative comments about previous employers on an individual’s social media pages.

This is especially true if the information is vague, untruthful or libelous. In this case, anyone with a social media presence should remember that it is best to avoid hostile comments about former employers. At most, they can note that they no longer work at their former place of employment.

The public persona of a job seeker should always be one that inspires confidence on the part of any potential employers.

Never Post Confidential Information

A major error some social media users make is to post confidential information about their current employer.

This can range from posting legally confidential information, such as a client’s medical information or information that is covered under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to posting information about a company’s future activities before the employee has been authorized to release it to the public.

Especially in today’s extremely competitive business world, a potential employer will be very concerned with any sign that an employee may fail to properly safeguard his or her employer’s confidential information.

Avoid Socially Unacceptable Posts

Avoiding posting items that may be seen as socially unacceptable is a vital part of any social media strategy. Angry comments, sexist or racist statements, pictures of behavior such as drinking or engaging in sexually explicit activity can all result in a potential employer deciding to not hire the individual.

At the very least, such information can result in uncomfortable questions at the job interview. This issue can be very difficult to handle however.

While some activities, such as the use of illegal drugs, are obviously counterproductive, other activities may be up to the judgment of the interviewer. Some job positions, such as those involving extensive contact with customers or the public will see a higher level of scrutiny when compared to positions that involve no such contact.

In addition, not all individuals see an activity in the same way. For this reason, a prospective employee should carefully examine the corporate culture of his or her desired field when considering what types of activities to display on social media accounts.

Finally, it is important to note that information on the Internet is very hard to remove. Anyone who has put up socially questionable material in the past should be prepared to explain the reasons behind their activity at the job interview.

Consider Separating Public and Private Accounts

Not all social media needs to be public. Private Facebook accounts that are shared with selected individuals will not generally come up in a job interview.

By creating these private pages, the potential employee can create a place where he or she can speak to friends and family without endangering any future job prospects. Currently, most legal authorities agree that a business cannot demand access to such private accounts.

However, it should be noted that social media such as a publicly accessible webpage are not so protected. Anyone thinking of creating multiple social media accounts should be certain to keep the divide between their private and business life in mind at all times.

Be Friendly

An interviewer will gather a great deal of his or her initial impression of the candidate from social media. For this reason, the candidate should work to always be personable online. Angry rants, arguments or an aggressive posting nature may lead the interviewer to conclude that the candidate is not a suitable match for the company’s office culture.

Social media is an excellent tool for preparing the ground for a productive job interview. By following these suggestions an individual can be assured that they will not be caught by surprise during a job interview. Furthermore, by presenting an attractive appearance via social media, the prospective employee can maximize his or her chances of obtaining the job they are seeking.

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