Would you want potential employers to see everything you’ve ever posted on social media? If the answer is no, you better start cleaning up your online profiles fast — especially if you’re looking for a new job.
According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, a whopping 70 percent of employers use social media to research job candidates. And many (57 percent) have found something on social media that caused them to not hire a candidate.
Why are they looking?
Hiring someone is a big decision. It can cost a lot of money and take up a lot of employee time. So, it’s understandable that employers want to know more about someone they’ve only met a handful of times before they bring them on board.
Many employers (58 percent) are looking for info that proves you have the qualifications for the job, so make sure your LinkedIn profile accurately reflects the skills you’re telling employers you have.
Half (50 percent) want to see if you have a professional online persona. Before you start applying for positions, go through all your social media profiles and remove any unprofessional pics, adult language, or anything else you wouldn’t want printed on the front page of The New York Times.
Over a third (34 percent) check social media to see what other people are posting about you. You can’t control what other people say about you online. But you may consider untagging yourself in any inappropriate posts or pictures.
Some employers (22 percent) are looking for a reason not to hire you. These employers have most likely concluded that you’re a good candidate for the position and are looking for any reason to change their mind. Don’t give them one.
With all this information, you may consider shutting down your social media profiles altogether. Considering that 47 percent say they are less likely to call a candidate in for an interview if they can’t find them online, this would be a mistake.
What have employers found?
According to the survey, employers didn’t hire a candidate because:
- They posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information – 40 percent
- They posted Information about them drinking or using drugs – 36 percent
- They had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc. – 31 percent
- They were linked to criminal behavior – 30 percent
- They lied about their qualifications – 27 percent
- They had poor communication skills – 27 percent
- They bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employees – 25 percent
- Their screen name was unprofessional – 22 percent
- They shared confidential information from previous employers – 20 percent
- They lied about an absence – 16 percent
- They posted too frequently – 12 percent
It’s not all bad though. Many employers have found information online that convinced them to hire a candidate, including:
- Background information that supported a candidate’s stated qualifications – 37 percent
- Content that displayed candidate’s creativity – 34 percent
- A social media profile that projected a professional image – 33 percent
- Information that showed a candidate was well-rounded – 31 percent
- Profiles that showed the candidate’s personality – 31 percent
- Candidate had great communication skills – 28 percent
Many employers are still monitoring your online activity even after you get the job. Almost half (48 percent) still use social media to look after current employees, with some (10 percent) doing it daily. Some employers (34 percent) have even found something that caused them to punish or terminate an employee.
What Can You Do?
To protect yourself during your job search, there are a few things you should do.
- Review your privacy settings to limit what the public can see.
- Remove any content that may be offensive or inappropriate.
- Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes in your posts.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile accurately portrays your skills and experience.
- Update your profile pictures to reflect a professional image.
Don’t let social media ruin your chance at landing a job. Follow these tips to get your profiles employer ready.
Start your job search with us
If you’re looking for a new job, we can help. For more than 30 years, Morgan Hunter has helped professionals like you land interviews and get hired by some of the best companies in Kansas City. Check out our current openings or contact us today to find out how we can help you land the job you want.