Man shredding a document

Employers reveal the social media gaffes that tank your chances of getting the job

Elizabeth Bromstein|

We don’t need to tell you again (do we?) that you need to be careful about what you post on social media.

We know that employers check candidates out on social media, that they look at your pictures and posts to decide whether they want to hire you. We know that your privacy settings won’t necessarily save you if a hiring manager is determined, as there is often a pretty good chance that you and they know someone in common who would be willing to give access to your profile.

Need more proof of how not thinking before you post can have a negative effect on your career?

A new Career Builder survey of 2,138 hiring managers found that 43 per cent of employers research candidates on social media, and 51 per cent of those say they have found content that made them decide not to hire the candidate. On top of that, 12 per cent say they don’t research candidates on social media but plan to start.

The top 10 things that caused them to eliminate a candidate:

    • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 46 percent
    • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs – 41 percent
    • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee – 36 percent
    • Candidate had poor communication skills – 32 percent
    • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc. – 28 percent
    • Candidate lied about qualifications – 25 percent
    • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers – 24 percent
    • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior – 22 percent
    • Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional – 21 percent
    • Candidate lied about an absence – 13 percent

And while social media was far more likely to sway employers away from a candidate, one third (33 per cent) also said they had found content that made them more likely to hire someone.

The top 10 things that made hiring managers more likely to hire a candidate:

    • Got a good feel for the job candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company culture – 46 percent
    • Candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job – 45 percent
    • Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image – 43 percent
    • Candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests – 40 percent
    • Candidate had great communication skills – 40 percent
    • Candidate was creative – 36 percent
    • Candidate received awards and accolades – 31 percent
    • Other people posted great references about the job candidate – 30 percent
    • Candidate had interacted with my company’s social media accounts – 24 percent
    • Candidate had a large amount of followers or subscribers – 14 percent

Employers also shared the strangest things they’ve discovered on the social media profiles of candidates or current employees. These included:

    • Candidate’s profile included links to an escort service
    • Candidate posted a photo of a warrant for his arrest
    • Candidate posted an exercise video for grandmothers (I’m going to say this isn’t strange at all. My friend’s profiles are full of this kind of stuff. This employer sounds very sheltered.)
    • Candidate had sued his wife for shooting him in the head
    • Candidate featured a pig as his closest friend (again, not that strange if the pig is a pet)
    • Candidate posted his dental exam results
    • Candidate bragged about driving drunk and not getting caught on several occasions
    • Candidate was actively involved in a demonic cult
    • Candidate posted Sasquatch pictures he had taken (if you got pictures of a Sasquatch wouldn’t you post them to social media?)

“Pffffft,” you’re thinking. “I don’t have to worry about this. My social media isn’t affecting my job search. This hasn’t happened to me.”

How would you know? An employer is not going to inform you that you have been eliminated because of your Facebook page. You’ll never know why you weren’t called back.

“It’s very common practice [among recruiters] to search and see what they can find on a social network,” David Lewis, president and CEO of OperationsInc, an HR outsourcing and consulting firm, told FastCoExist. But if what they see turns them against you, “We don’t tell people why, we just tell them another candidate was more closely a fit for our job,” said Lewis.

So, remember, be careful out there. And keep those naked, drunk pictures offline.

 

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