Can Social Media Hurt Your Chances of Getting Hired?

Big brother may or may not be watching you, but there’s a growing chance that potential employers are – at the least when it comes to your social media persona. When you haven’t evaluated your online presence and how it makes you appear, you may have issues. Think about it. All potential employers need to do is look on the web, especially at your social media profiles, and they can learn A LOT about you. Perhaps greater than you need them to know. Possibly some of it isn’t even true.

Despite everything, maybe your online posts reveal the type of person you really are, your true attitudes about people and issues. Quite possibly, they don’t like what they see. Could that be why employers aren’t beating down your door with invites to interview or job offers?

Even if you already interviewed and did quite well, the hiring manager knows you’ve been on your best behavior. But, they also know the “real you” will come out once you’re hired and on the job. Regardless of having seen an otherwise great applicant during the interview, they may now be a bit frightened and not sure about you.

Everything’s Online

Social media can play an essential role in your job search as employers can get a glimpse of who you are by reviewing your social media profile. Employers also use social media channels to determine if the candidate posts good, funny, insightful, attention-grabbing or artistic content material, particularly on Twitter and Instagram. They want to know more about who they’re considering hiring.

Look at just a few social media websites you frequently go to and see what everyone can see about you. An employer may see that you just dropped the “f-bomb” in a few posts. There may be an image of you partying a little too crazy last weekend. That joke you posted sounds reasonably racist. Wow… Right here’s a post where your trash talking your current employer. Is this someone who would represent the company well? Is this someone they want to hire?

Employers can learn so much about you from your resume and interview; however, today it generally takes a bit more to promote yourself (though there’s a delicate balance between selling yourself too much and being transparent to the hiring manager). Make the most of the advantages that social media offers – it’s an extra step to show the hiring company what value you bring, a means to add flair to your job application, and make an enduring impression on your potential employers.

Are Employers Really Looking at Your Social Media?

A 2018 CareerBuilder survey , 70% of employers reporting using social media to screen potential candidates during the hiring process and approximately 43% used social media to check up on their current employees. Additionally, 18% of employers have dismissed workers because of something they posted on social media. Research by Glassdoor revealed that 79% of candidates used social media of their search of employers.

Company social media searching involves using social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for job searching. Not posting often or having incomplete, dated, or no social media profiles is a red flag for many employers. Many employers mentioned that a scarcity of an up-to-date online presence was the most important social media mistake job candidates make.

What are Employers Actually Searching?

When a recruiter looks at your various social media profiles, they can get a feel for how you interact with others online, both professionally in LinkedIn and personally examining your Twitter and Facebook accounts. Social media helps screen candidates before extending an invitation for an interview, which saves the company time and money.

Employer’s will often search if a former employee bad-mouthed a previous company or a fellow employee. This type of behavior is very unprofessional, and the company will most likely pass on you as a result.

Also, be very careful of posting discriminatory comments or any off-color jokes. Finally, don’t just treat your public social media posts like you’re texting a friend. Be mindful of your spelling and grammar since this will reflect badly on your professionalism and communication skills.

Is it Illegal?

Is checking out someone on-line an unlawful hiring practice? Can employers really do that? There are many hiring practices that are clearly unethical and discriminatory, but reviewing a potential candidate’s social media profile isn’t one of them.

In line with the U.S. Equal Employment Alternative Commission (EEOC) , there are numerous legal guidelines which govern employment practices. Some primary examples include, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Being Pregnant Discrimination Act, and the Title I and V of the People with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

Should You Include Your Social Media on Your Resume?

Knowing that employers will probably examine your online presence, what should you do? Remember that your online presence is the other half of your resume. Make sure your online presence makes you look good rather than hurts your possibilities of landing a job? Put yourself in the employer’s shoes and ask yourself if the social media profile is representative of someone you want to work for you.

Should you cancel all your social media accounts or tighten up the privacy settings during your job search? Be careful! Eliminating your online presence altogether or tightening privacy too much could possibly make things worse! Going to such extremes could show that you’re trying to cover something up and make you look untrustworthy.

It may be a red flag to employers if they searched you only to find that you had no presence on social media. Compare this to another potential candidate who had a strong LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook presence. The candidate with a compelling professional social media presence will clearly be stronger and more marketable.

It could also show that you’re not tech savvy and lack social media information or expertise. Moreover, having a constructive online presence can reinforce the good attributes the employer might see in you. You don’t want to miss out on that type of opportunity.

Most Important Platform

There are many social media platforms you may have and love, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., but LinkedIn is the most significant professional social media networking site. Many employers may not even consider an applicant who doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the go-to community for both professionals and hiring managers and should be a prime precedence on your social media-associated job search efforts.

Besides just having a great LinkedIn profile, you’ll be able to apply directly to thousands of jobs with this platform and be able to see and connect with the people who are working at the company you’re interested in.

Additionally, having constructive critiques on your social media profiles can go a great distance in earning employer’s trust and increasing your probabilities of landing the job. The Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report (2018) demonstrated that that 66% of employers look negatively upon poor spelling and grammar on social media.

In Closing

Social media makes a great addition to any resume and demonstrates that you have social media management skills is a plus for any candidate. Employers today are increasingly combing through potential candidate’s social media. This means that you need to be very aware of what your including in your social media profiles and telling the online world about you.

Social media profiles have developed into fountains of data for recruiters vetting job candidates. Make certain your online presence (including social media websites like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) is in representing you well and reinforces that you would be a great person to hire.


Maria Gold is a Social Media Influencer, Career Coach, and Freelance Business Content Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. When Maria is not working, she enjoys reading and spending quality time with her family.

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