If you’re actively looking for a job, it’s important to remember that employers use your social media as a second screening test. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43% of employers use social media to monitor current employees. Furthermore, of those companies that have researched candidates online, 57% have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.
It’s pretty hard to bounce back after you’ve made a bad first impression, so your social media has to set the precedent. Here are 5 social media posts your potential boss doesn’t want to see:
1. Provocative and Inappropriate Photos
The number one reason employers didn’t hire someone was due to provocative/inappropriate photos they found. According to the CareerBuilder survey, 40% of hiring managers said they didn’t hire someone because of these types of photos; the reasoning is self-explanatory.
2. Drinking or Using Drugs
This should go without saying, but showing off drinking and drug use is a red flag for employers. Many companies have drug policies you need to abide by and they won’t be eager to hire you if they see you abusing drugs before you even get the job. If you’re fresh out of college, party and heavy drinking photos don’t come off as “ready to hire” either. There’s a huge difference between posting a photo at a weekend brunch and posting a photo of you passed out in the hallway. Think social, not sloppy!
3. Work Complaints
When an employer sees that you’ve bad-mouthed every company you worked for, it’ll start to look like you’re the problem. Employers will worry you’d do the same to them, especially if you’re revealing confidential or damaging information. Even if you don’t mention names, it still reflects your character unfavorably. Complaining about a previous company and coworkers on your social accounts gives off the idea that you’re not a team player and no one wants that.
4. Offensive Content
Another big reason hiring managers eliminate candidates is due to posts expressing any hate about race, gender, religion, etc. Working collaboratively is essential to a well-running, cohesive workplace. If you can’t get along with your team due to personal prejudices, you will not be hired. Diversity and inclusion are valued by today’s businesses and contribute to their success, so it wouldn’t hurt to educate yourself on topics related to this either.
5. Lying about Qualifications
Employers use social media as a screening test to find information that supports your qualifications for the job. Let’s say you lied about your GPA on your resume and you made a post about it on Twitter. If they see that, it will probably be the last time you’ll be considered for a job at that company.
If you’re guilty of having any of those posts on your social media, don’t react hastily and delete your profiles altogether. Becoming a “social media ghost” is also alarming to employers who might assume you have too much to hide. It wouldn’t be helpful to make all your accounts private because employers can easily set up a fake account, follow you and scroll through your profile.
We recommend deleting the posts and working on building up your image. You can use social media to your advantage by conveying professionalism and showcasing your best skills and traits. Employers want to see if you’re creative, received recognition, or even if you’ve interacted with their company before. An easy way to start is by using a professional headshot as your profile picture, editing your handles and sharing content related to your field. So before you start applying to jobs, think about scrubbing any “digital dirt.”