Have you ever left a job interview where your employer seemed to be was suspiciously well-informed about your past, knowing details about yourself that wasn’t included in the CV? Well, it’s a mystery no more: companies often rely on extensive background checks to learn more about the history and character of a future employee. Such investigations are claimed to be necessary in order to filter out individuals with criminal records, but applicants can often find themselves in hot water when sensitive topics are unearthed from their past. From speeding tickets to previous bankruptcies, all sorts of personal information can be brought to the table. If you wish to avoid awkward moments during a job interview and highlight only your strengths and the info you want to share, then there are some strategies to make the most of.
Clean up Your Social Media Presence
Despite the amount of time that people sink in to their social media page on a daily basis, most are pretty oblivious to the fact that employers are actively using Facebook and Twitter to screen the applicants. This means that the picture at that wild party that was uploaded five years ago may very well be spotted by a potential boss, maybe even booting you from an otherwise promising interview. Twitter feuds and embarrassing behavior in the comments section could also be stacked as evidence against your professionalism, even if they did happen years ago when you were younger and more reckless. And the thing is, though you may have very well forgotten about this dirty laundry it is still alive and well on these social media sites, just waiting to be discovered. Even worse, there are background check services specializing in social media tracking like this, hunting down any account or blog post related you.
The best course of action here is to read through all your posts and review your photo albums to search for any compromising material. Anything that could sabotage your reputation should be removed, because even if you know that those comments were intended as jokes, a potential employer won’t see light of any unethical, sexist or racist tone and certainly won’t know the original intention. These same rules apply to the photo section as well. The process is long and frustrating, but a clean slate is definitely worth the effort.
Check Yourself Out
No, not in the mirror; a professional appearance is indeed half the battle in an interview, but you’ll need to prepare more than just your hair. Perform a background check on yourself to discover what an employer might find. These kinds of services can dig up information about a person from public records, and so looking up your own profile will give you an understanding ahead of the interview. Doing so is absolutely legal, but not exactly cheap; you can either subscribe to a background check service or just purchase a one-time report, the latter of which typically coming with a heftier fee.
You would be surprised how much public information is available about you. Criminal records, birth certificate, family tree, marriage status, or court cases: a decent background check service will reveal all of this. If the search doesn’t bring up anything sensitive, then you are lucky. Otherwise, the best you can do is to prepare an answer for any questions. Some background check services also offer the ability to hide your data from their database. However, it won’t make the info disappear from the public records, and so it won’t stop the dirty details popping up on other sites.