SecondChanceWe’ve heard this mantra a hundred times;

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Today, as I have said a million times, your first impression today is usually your digital one.

A new study by Ghent University said that employers use Facebook profile photos to screen potential candidates.

Employers have limited information when they make their first selection of the candidates for their vacancies. A CV and short motivation letter are often not sufficient to gain insight in the personality of the candidates. At the same time, there’s a lot of information to further refine a first impression. A potential source of information is the social networking website Facebook.

Admittedly, whether this is ethical or appropriate, it’s not unlawful.

The fact that employers screen via Facebook, does not imply that this is ethically and economically justified. Regarding the ethical side, employers may not be blamed. Basically, it is the responsibility of the users of social networks to manage their privacy settings and keep track of what information they share.

What I want to address here is that sometimes your Facebook profile picture and cover photo are defaulted as public and you need to manually set it to private. This is why it’s imperative to be proactive with your privacy settings on a regular basis.

Remember, technology can make mistakes same as humans. You may believe your picture was private – only to realize it suddenly is now public.

It’s happened to me. Thankfully I haven’t ever posted any questionable photos however my privacy settings seem to have a mind of their own — especially on Facebook. I’m not faulting Facebook – or any other social media platform, I’m only encouraging you to take responsibility for your online lives.

Take the time to check-in with your privacy settings regularly. It only takes a few minutes to double check your settings to be sure you are properly protected.

Keeping it clean.

Why it matters when you select your social media profile image:

“The candidate with the most favorable Facebook profile picture received approximately 21% more positive responses to his application in comparison to the candidate with the least favorable profile picture. The difference in the chance to be immediately invited to a job interview even amounted to almost 40%. ” These important differences can only be driven by the view of the Facebook profile picture, so it is clear that a significant proportion of employers screens via Facebook.

I mentioned social media profile images in general – since I am referring to all platforms.


In a Jobvite survey, 93% of recruiters said they will review a potential candidates social media profile before making a final decision on hiring them. That’s a substantial percentage. Don’t risk not being hired for your dream job or even a first choice college because of a silly photo or questionable content.


Your online presence will usually be the first impression someone will learn about you before meeting you in person. What do you want your digital image to say?