How Your Social Media Habits Help or Hurt Your Job Search

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media

Social Media Habits

Social media is growing in importance not only as a job search tool, but also in how companies evaluate candidates and employees. Your social media capital, or, how your reputation and influence could help a company, is considered an increasingly important measure of your value.

But not all social media behavior is beneficial, as some job seekers have learned. In a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder in June 2014, some interesting positives and negatives were revealed regarding job seeker use of social media.

At the time of the Harris Poll (June 2014), it was estimated that 43 percent of employers use social media to research candidates. According to Morningstar, that number has risen to 60 percent in 2016.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In those instances, when hiring managers used social media to discover more information on a candidate, the following types of findings had a positive impact on the hiring decision:

  • When the company got a good feel for personality and potential culture fit
  • The candidate’s background was a good technical fit for the job
  • When profiles portrayed a well-rounded set of interests
  • Relevant awards or honors were depicted
  • There were positive references given online

And now, for the not-so-good news about social media habits. Job seekers have hurt their chances of being hired with the following social media posts:

  • Information about drinking or using drugs
  • Bad-mouthing former employers or colleagues
  • Lying about qualifications
  • Sharing confidential information about previous employers
  • Lying about an absence from work

Taking things a step further, some employers discovered more than they wanted to know:

  • Links to an escort service
  • A photo of a warrant for arrest
  • Bragging about driving drunk and getting away with it

Think Before You Post

Although privacy is an important right, and a significant issue given the changing landscape of regulations and the risk of being hacked, you must always assume that that your privacy is never absolute. In other words, think before you post.

Just ask Laremy Tunsil, an offensive lineman whose Twitter account was hacked in May. A video was posted of him minutes before the NFL Draft, smoking a bong. The video was taken while he was in high school, and according to Tunsil, he had removed the video from his online accounts. This mistake literally cost him millions of dollars, as he dropped to a lower spot in the NFL draft.

This is an extreme example, but one worthy of heeding. What you post about yourself, and what others post about you, is worthy of monitoring. Don’t let your social media habits hurt your chances of being hired.