"I saw on your Facebook page that you hated your last employer. How do I know you won't bash our company too, if you work here?"
"I read your tweets about getting drunk three days last week. Do you have an alcohol problem?"
"Your photo on Google Profiles is very sexy. Do you think this is a good image for a professional?"
Questions like these are not what you want to hear from your interviewer. They're a pretty sure sign you won't be getting any job offer. And they could have been prevented if you had just spent a little time polishing up your social media presence.
Since at least 80% of recruiters now check applicants' social media — and about two thirds of those say they've made a hiring decision based on what they found there — this is really worth doing. Let's look at 5 ways you can make sure they see you as a standout candidate for the job.
1. Hide your personal stuff on Facebook.
To do this, you'll have to create specific groups, such as "Personal" and "Professional," and assign all your Facebook friends to one of them.
Then go to the padlock icon in Facebook's top toolbar and edit all the options to control who will see your past posts, future posts, and things you've been tagged in. Anything potentially embarrassing should be changed from "Everyone" or "Public" to "Personal" or whatever name you've given that group.
2. Hide or delete your tweets.
To keep your tweets off of Google search results, the first step is obviously to change your account settings to "Private." You can also change your username.
But you'll still have to censor all your tweets from before the date you went private. Use the advanced search for whatever keywords you think a recruiter might find dubious (i.e. "Vegas baby!"). Then delete each tweet using the option behind the menu button (3 horizontal dots).
3. Get a professional looking head shot.
Wear a good shirt and understated jewelry, be impeccably groomed and smile politely. Update your social media profiles with this image everywhere from LinkedIn to Match — at least for the duration of your job search.
4. Fix contradictory or unflattering information.
Does your LinkedIn resume say you graduated college but your Facebook page says you only completed high school?
Are your Facebook posts full of 5th grade-level spelling and grammatical errors?
Are the majority of your tweets negative: whining or ranting about someone or something?
Edit or remove all items that make you look dishonest, dumb or an unpleasant personality to work with.
5. Don't be invisible.
Employers hire someone based on what they find on social media just as often as what they don't find. So minimizing your public online presence is not the goal here; controlling it is.
You want recruiters to see your professional qualifications, accomplishments, awards, positive reviews from former colleagues or supervisors, and knowledgeable comments that you post on industry forums or blogs. Showing that you're involved in community activities or charity work also makes a great impression. Beef up these areas as necessary.
Social media can be a great asset to your job search, as long as you make it work to your advantage. And you won't have to face those embarrassing interview questions ever again.