Career Advice

Can Your Social Media Accounts Affect You Getting Hired for a Job?

The short answer to this question is yes, your social media accounts can affect your getting hired for a job. But this might actually be a good thing!

According to a study conducted by LinkedIn (and reported on AARP), approximately a third of employers on LinkedIn that review potential candidates’ social media profiles actually felt compelled to hire a candidate after reviewing their profiles, believing them to be a good fit for the company after learning more about their interests and personality traits. 

Despite these findings from LinkedIn, a survey from CareerBuilder found that 34% of the hiring managers they surveyed stated that content they found online made them turn away from the candidate, while 45% said that they chose not to hire someone based on evidence of drug or alcohol use. Other behaviors that turned off hiring managers included poor communication skills, discriminatory posts, or bad-mouthing their previous employer. 

When it comes to applying for a job, you have to expect that your future employer will check out your social media presence. But, you have to keep in mind that this can either hurt you or benefit you. 

Today, we’re taking a look at all the ways social media can affect your job search and provide some helpful tips to make sure your online presence isn’t overshadowed by your genuine character. 


Why Do Hiring Managers Care About What You Post on Social Media?

You know that saying that even a broken clock can be right twice a day? The same concept applies to applicants interviewing for a job. 

Even the worst candidates can pull it together for a 20 or 30-minute interview. However, there is a notable difference between how a person acts normally and how they’re acting when they’re on their best behavior. As such, it can be hard to distinguish between a candidate that is truly a good fit for the culture and one that is just presenting themselves to be. This is why they turn to social media. 

When an employer is hiring for a new role, they want someone who is going to possess the technical skill the job requires, but they’re also looking for someone that possesses a certain amount of soft skills. This includes everything from the ability to network with potential clients, communicate with leadership, demonstrate problem-solving and critical thinking, the ability to work in a team environment, and most of all, someone who is going to demonstrate professionalism. 

While the random curse word in a social media post isn’t going to paint you in a negative light, consistent foul language, complaining about work or your previous employer, and posting or sharing explicit content are likely to make a potential employer pass you over for another applicant because these types of posts indicate, to them, that you lack professionalism and don’t know the difference between right and wrong. 

Though the last part of that statement does sound – and is – harsh, it’s the reality. A hiring manager wants to bring people on board that are going to reflect the values of the company. 

So, posting sexual pictures, consistently using foul language, or sharing images of constant partying isn’t going to be what they want to be associated with their company’s image. And to them, if you can’t demonstrate good behavior on your own time, then chances are, you won’t exhibit it on company time. 


What to Avoid Posting on Social Media if You’re Looking for a New Job

Remember, when it comes to creating an online presence, there are a few key things you should avoid posting:


Personal Photos 

If you think that a photo may cross the line, err on the side of caution and don’t post it. This includes everything from boudoir photos, photos or videos of you drunk or high, and anything else that can be considered off-limits to a potential employer. 

This even applies to confidential work emails or text correspondence between co-workers, client information, ongoing spreadsheets, and the like. Basically, if it’s considered personal or confidential, don’t share it online. It looks bad and can even put your current or former employer in jeopardy if their private information is shared publicly. 


Political Rants

When it comes to politics, you’re entitled to have whatever opinion you’d like. Lean left. Lean right. Or fall somewhere in the middle. 

However, in today’s day and age, posting political rants can not only be taken out of context but can severely damage your ability to get a job. Share your opinion with your friends and family behind closed doors, but try to avoid posting any rants online. 

As long as your political ideology doesn’t interfere with your ability to work and get things done, it’s best to keep the rants off your social media page and definitely out of the workplace. 


The Same Goes for Anything…

This also applies to religion. Again, everyone is entitled to their own religious beliefs, but ranting and raving about something or trying to indoctrinate someone to switch over to your faith, for example, can leave a very bad taste in your future employer’s mouth. 

Just like with politics, your employer is looking for people who demonstrate they can work and succeed in a team environment. If your religious or political views appear to get in the way of that, your hiring manager may worry that you’re not going to be respectful of others in the workplace, or be difficult when things don’t go your way. 


Your Private Information

Again, your employer is checking your social media for examples of smart thinking. If your phone number, home address, and other private personal information are plastered all over your Facebook page, your potential employer will likely consider that a bad judgment call. 

And, again, if you’re demonstrating poor judgment calls in your personal life, they’re going to assume you’ll demonstrate poor judgment calls at work. 


How to Create a Positive Social Media Presence

The examples provided above are rather harsh. And, it can be difficult to draw the line between what is and isn’t appropriate to post online because posting online makes up a good portion of our lives. 

After all, we live in a society that is pretty dependent on social media for branding, companionship, and self-identity. So many of us share what’s going on in our lives, from exciting achievements to complaints about situations outside our control. 

Despite how natural this all feels, divulging too much information can be a bad thing for your future employer. 

But not to worry, because here are some tips on creating a professional social media presence that can still demonstrate your genuine personality, while safeguarding your ability to obtain employment: 


Highlight Your Accomplishments 

Did you recently graduate college? Did you get a new pet, get married, or have a baby? Did you publish your first article online or attend a seminar that yielded new credentials or experience? By all means, go ahead and post it. 

Highlighting your accomplishments or big milestones is a great way for employers to learn more about your technical skill, educational background, experience, and how you enjoy your personal time. 


Wait 24 Hours Before Posting Something “Bad”

We all have intuition. And oftentimes, when it comes to posting on social media, we do have a little voice in our head that says “maybe posting this right now isn’t a good idea.” 

However, we tend to ignore this little voice when we’re feeling immense stress, anger, or frustration and that’s why we tend to come across so many deleted posts on our social media feeds. 

The old adage of think before you speak has been updated to reflect modern society. In other words, “think before you post.” When you feel the urge to post something that may paint you negatively, wait 24 hours. Chances are, you will have cooled off by then and not want to post. 


Set Your Personal Social Media Accounts to Private

One thing you want to do is set your social media accounts to private. You can adjust these settings to make posts only available to friends and family or whatever you feel comfortable with. These settings protect you, so take advantage of them. 


Stay Active on Networking Platforms

If you’re looking for a new job, one of the best things you can do is stay active on the right social media channels – mainly LinkedIn. 

Recruiters will review your Linkedin profile to research you, your job skills, and your education level. However, the main reason why you should remain active on LinkedIn during your job search is so you can actively engage with and network with recruiters, hiring managers, and peers within your industry. 


Remember, Social Media Can Either Make or Break You

Social media is about having a presence online, and doing so can both hurt and benefit you. The best rule of thumb is to stay active and professional on sites like LinkedIn, manage your privacy settings on all other apps, and think twice before you post. 

With nearly 70% of all recruiters using social media to find candidates, managing your online presence is more important than ever. With these tips, you’ll be able to manage your social media accounts effectively so they don’t hurt your job search.