Career Planning

Social Media Mistakes that Can Cost You the Job

Elizabeth Hoyt

April 11, 2018

Social Media Mistakes that Can Cost You the Job
Think your social media presence doesn't impact your job search? Fine. But, you're wrong.
You may think that your social media accounts don’t matter and assume that most companies won’t actually take the time to look at your social media accounts. You may think that, but you’d be wrong. According to a 2015 study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 43 percent of employers check on a job applicant’s social media presence and look them up on search engines. On top of that, 84 percent of employers utilize social media to recruit for positions. While a positive online presence can help you get the job, it could disqualify you as a candidate also. In fact, the same SHRM study found that 36 percent of companies have disqualified candidates based on what they found through an online search or on their social media profiles.
Losing out on a potential job because of your online presence is the type of situation that is absolutely avoidable. It’s important to understand the key aspects that employers look for when researching candidates online so that you can rid your accounts of these red flags for good. Taking the time to do so can actually make or break your job search success. Stop being your own worst enemy by exhibiting any behaviors that fall under the potential employer turn-off category. Here’s a list of things potential employers view as red flags on a job applicant’s online presence, and what you can do about them, according to Monster’s Career Start:
You’re Vulgar or Offensive
While most people understand this is a given, it occurs enough on social media to warrant a mention. According to SHRM, one in five candidates post derogatory comments on social media. This speaks volumes about a potential candidates maturity level and level of professionalism – or lack thereof. Never forget that once you post something online, it’s out there for everyone to search.
You Complain about Work
SHRM also reports that 33 percent of candidates use social media as a platform to vent about their job, workload or other job-related issues. Hiring managers will undoubtedly see this as a turn off – if you complain about this job, what’s going to stop you from badmouthing your next employer online? Nothing will – or at least that’s what they’ll assume - which is exactly why you’ll likely get passed over for the position. Steer clear of airing your dirty work laundry online.
You’re Under the Influence
It doesn’t matter whether you’re off the clock or not, unprofessional behavior is just that. The SHRM study found that almost half of candidates, or 48 percent, have photos and/or information that details them being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While it’s your prerogative to do what you want after work, you don’t need to share these things online. Hiring managers are looking to hire candidates that positively reflect their company and a sloppy social media presence isn’t doing you any favors.
You’re Too Private
While you may think that putting your accounts on private gets rid of the online presence issue all together, that’s not always the case. Potential employers may view this as you having something to hide or that you have nothing to say – neither of which are good impressions to give off. A better plan is to create both personal and professional accounts, keeping your personal account private. There are also restrictions you can put on your accounts to pick and choose what a potential employer is able to see.
You’re All About Selfies
While the occasional selfie is excusable, it’s important to be mindful of how frequently you post these photos. It can give off a narcissistic impression and can seem unprofessional, especially if the photo is in any way sexual in nature. It’s also important to keep in mind that you shouldn’t post provocative photos, which is another red flag to employers.
Your Accounts are Stale
Signing up for online accounts is no longer enough. When searching your online presence, employers want to see how you utilize them to network, build engagement and your personal brand. Instead of creating accounts and allowing them to just sit there, commit to posting, sharing and reposting weekly. In this day and age, hiring managers will find it fishy if someone has an online presence with no actual information. It’s a useful tool to show off your skills and personality, so try to use it to your advantage.
You Have Poor Grammar
It may seem unimportant to worry about grammar on your social profiles. However, this is one of the biggest red flags employers find and discount potential candidates for. SHRM reports that 30 percent of candidates have this issue. With spell check readily available on devices, there’s no excuse for poor grammar. Clean up your verbiage to make a positive, lasting impression employers will be impressed by.
Your Followers Aren’t Real
Many people assume that, when it comes to their online presence, more followers is always more impressive. As a result, some people even purchase follows. However, hiring managers aren’t fooled by this – or impressed by your number. Instead, they’re more impressed by the quality of individuals who look to your accounts and how you engage with other users. After all, that says a lot more about you as a candidate than your ability to purchase popularity.

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