About 95% of employers conduct pre-employment background checks and, many times, social media screening is included! If you’re currently on a job hunt for employment, you need to be aware of what information is attached to your name.
Fortunately, you can take a look at yourself from your potential employer’s perspective by doing some online sleuthing. These four tips will give you a quick start into performing a background screen on yourself!
- Google Yourself. Also, Yahoo! yourself, and maybe DuckDuckGo yourself, too. Most of us have already done this just to appease our egos, but this time you need to look for anything that might raise the eyebrows of an employer. Dig deep by clicking beyond the page 1, page 2, or even page 10 results.
- Check Public Databases. Even if you’re a squeaky-clean citizen, digital databases can have errors. If you have a common name, there can be misinformation tied to you a number of ways. Once per year, you can request a copy of your credit report for free. (Visit the Federal Trade Commission for the link.) It’s important to file a dispute on any incorrect information there. Also, the White Pages online is an excellent source of a surprising amount of information about where you’ve lived, and who it thinks are members of your family, neighbors, and work associates.
- Review Social Media. We all share things with our friends that we may not share with our bosses or coworkers. Unfortunately, social media apps have made is too easy to share more than our professional selves might offer up during an interview. You can lock down access to your social accounts but remember, the internet has a way of keeping records. Revise or remove any old content that could be misconstrued and, going forward, keep your posts positive and safe for work.
- Order a Consumer Background Check. There are lots of websites offering to sell you information about yourself. If you can afford it, request one but beware. Some background check websites will try to scare you into thinking they have disparaging information about you and ask you to make a big purchase or share your email address before they will tell you more. Don’t fall for it! A reputable online consumer background check provider may not provide you with as much detailed information as an employer’s background check provider, but it also won’t feel like a scam.
Why look up all this information that you probably already know? When your future employer starts the process for your official screening, you may want to provide a heads up about anything you uncovered that might be concerning as well as anything that’s incorrect and that you’ve already asked to have removed. Background screening shouldn’t be a source of stress and, with a little leg work, you can make sure it doesn’t lead to any surprises either.