Resumes, applications, and interviews are what most people focus on when looking for a job. Social media may be the last thing on your mind—but if you’re not careful about what you (or your friends) post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, it can put your job search at risk.
Employers—and recruiters for staffing agencies—do check out candidates and employees on social media sites. In fact, according to a 2017 CareerBuilder/Harris Poll survey, 54% of employers have decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles and more than half of (51%) check up on current employees on social media.
That’s why you always need to be careful about what you share publicly during and beyond your job search. Check out these tips about what you should—and should not—do to ensure your social media presence is not harming your job prospects.
- Google your name
If you’ve been on social media for a while, we suggest searching for your name on Google before applying for jobs to see what comes up in the first few pages of results. You may be surprised at the photos, posts, or other information that appears. Do you find anything that an employer might think is offensive or inappropriate? Sometimes you’ll find things you can’t control, because they’re on someone else’s account. If something particularly embarrassing comes up, and there’s nothing you can do about it, you can at least be ready to address it rather than being surprised during an interview.
- Review your accounts
Similarly, take the time to review each of your social media accounts through the eyes of a hiring manager. If there’s content on your public profiles that doesn’t reflect who you are, think about deleting it. It’s often a good idea to make your accounts private so your private life can remain just that.
- Don’t be a jerk
Employers want to hire team players, not bullies. Angry posts full of bad language may give a potential employer a bad impression. Avoid starting or getting pulled into online arguments and don’t troll other people or organizations. This applies to comments on other people’s posts and in groups, as well as on your publicly accessible timeline.
- Avoid inappropriate photos
Remember, you always want to appear responsible and dependable to a hiring manager. As a general rule of thumb, that means never posting anything you’d be embarrassed to show your sweet grandmother. Some pictures of you partying are probably just fine—everyone likes to unwind—but images that suggest you are a drug user or a heavy drinker may hurt your chances with some employers. Also, ask your friends not to tag you publicly in questionable photos.
- Watch your language
It should go without saying, but dropping F-bombs (in person or online) is the fastest way to disqualify yourself from many jobs. Make sure to clean up your language on social media—avoid posting R-rated language.
- All joking aside…
Humor is one of those things that can have a vastly different effect from one person to the next. Your friends might get a kick out of a crude or disgusting meme, but your future employer probably wouldn’t be amused. Refrain from sharing offensive humor in public posts to avoid offending a prospective boss.
- Take full advantage of your privacy rights
If a potential employer can’t see your social media posts, that can be the best defense against being misjudged for something you wrote years ago when your thinking wasn’t the clearest. Under California law, an employer cannot require you to disclose your social media login credentials, or require you to access your accounts in front of a hiring manager.
- Keep your job to yourself
Once you’re employed, remember that what you say and do reflects on your employer; anything you post online may be seen by your manager or a co-worker. Don’t share any company business, whether it’s a complaint or good news, which may be confidential information. And of course, posting to your social media pages on company time can put your job at risk. So just keep your smartphone turned off or put away until your next break.
We’re Here to Help
Do you have any questions about how social media can impact your job search? Our Connect Staffing recruiters would be happy to guide you, once you’re on our team! First, register for employment on our website, then call or text us at (714) 622-4494.