Is Your Social Media Presence Hurting Potential Job Offers?

By Bob Evans
In November 17, 2016

Every week here at NexGoal, we challenge ourselves to go above and beyond providing our job candidates with advice and strategy to help them land the career upgrade they have been searching for.

One common discussion that comes up with candidates on a regular basis is their social presence. Do they have a social presence? What websites/social media platforms are they using to promote their brand? Have they audited their social presence recently to make sure it is up to date and does not convey a negative branding message to potential employers?

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That last part is a major hang-up for job candidates, as many did not even think about the negative impact of their last angry tweet or those “night out” pictures they posted on Facebook or Instagram. In fact, some think that what they post on social media should not be allowed to be evaluated by employers because it is part of their “personal life.”

Unfortunately, job seekers do not have a choice in the matter—if you are putting yourself out there then it is available for public consumption. And in some cases, it could actually be hurting your ability to get potential job offers.

Back in 2014, Jobvite conducted a social recruiting survey among hiring managers and recruiters in the industry. According to this survey, “93% of recruiters use or plan to use social to support their recruiting efforts.” Furthermore, when asked about how they use the various social media networks, there was an intriguing response. 93 percent of them use LinkedIn to “keep tabs” on potential candidates.

You do not need to adjust your screens or ask me if I really just like writing the number 93, as both areas had a 93 percent response rate—as well as this next area. According to the survey, “93 percent of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.”

Take that in for a second. No matter how accomplished you are and if you crushed that interview, they are still reviewing as many social platforms as possible to evaluate your further. What are the recruiters and hiring managers looking for? Well, let’s take a look.

LinkedIn was used about how you thought it would be used at the top, with 97 percent looking for professional experience, 96 percent looking for length of professional tenure and 95 percent looking for hard skills. What stood out to me about LinkedIn was that 93 percent were looking for mutual connections with that job seeker—likely looking to evaluate them even further beyond the normal references they are provided.

Facebook was much different, as the number one reason was cultural fit at 46 percent. Mutual connections came in second at 35 percent, while industry-related posts came in third at 27 percent. That last bit of information is intriguing, because it shows they want to see how much you care about the industry you are going into.

Why is all of this important to you as a job seeker? Put simply, having a good resume, wearing the right clothes and doing a great job at the interview is no longer enough in today’s job market. If you do not believe me, take a look at this next statistic from the survey.

“55 percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidates based on their social profile, with 61 percent of those reconsiderations being negative.”

Wondering what items most commonly caused a negative reconsideration? Don’t worry, the survey reported these items as well.

Screenshot taken from Jobvite survey.

Screenshot taken from Jobvite survey.

Remember that person you called out for being part of the “Grammar Police?” Well, it turns out they could have actually been helping you out. Did you enjoy that open conversation with a Twitter friend about that guy/girl you met out at the club when you were so drunk last weekend? You may have earned 100 likes/favorites, but you just got a big negative mark from the hiring manager you interviewed with Monday morning.

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It may have seemed funny and not harmful at the time, but many job seekers do not see the negative impact of what they are sharing on social media.

Listen, I am not telling you to suddenly delete your social footprint and stop interacting with people on social media—trust me, if you follow me on Twitter or any other social media outlet, you know I am the LAST person to make that recommendation. I get in more Twitter sports arguments with people than I care to really admit. But there are a couple of things you can do right now to clean up your social media act moving forward.

No. 1: Make Your Facebook Account Private

We have talked about this in a past article here on NexGoal, but it deserves reiteration. Right now, your Facebook account is searchable on Google without you even knowing it. To stop this, head to “Settings” in the drop down menu and go to “Privacy.” From there, you will find a section that looks like the below picture. The most important question is, “Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile?” Change your answer to “No” right now.

Screenshot from Facebook.com.

Screenshot from Facebook.com.

Also, make sure your posts are limited to your Friends being able to see them. Finally, I am a big fan of changing what people can tag me in to allow me to review it first. Most of my friends are good about what they tag me in, but there are still those that like to send that “Getting wasted in the Munilot trying to avoid watching the Cleveland Browns” with – Bob Evans tag every once in a while.

No. 2: Review the Pictures You Have Posted on All Accounts

Alright, this section should not be that difficult—you are no longer in college. While having that living, breathing photo album of every beer bong you did and every time you fell down a drunken mess in public is funny now, imagine what a hiring manager will think. Is this the person I really want representing my company?

Sure, you are probably not going to come into work drunk—but what happens if there is a company outing or event that requires you to interact with potential clients and customers over drinks? They do not know how many drinks it took for you to get the way you were in those photos. So they are going to make the assumption that one or two drinks means you cannot represent their company in a professional manner, and nobody wants to hire that.

What is my advice? Delete the drunken pictures now. You can save them on your computer and post them around your place so they still exist, but make sure they do not exist in your social footprint.

No. 3: Think Before You Tweet or Post

My final piece of advice comes with an admittance of a failure to adhere to this rule many, many times in the past. Nobody is perfect, and there are a lot of people in the social media universe that will push your buttons the wrong way. However, 140 characters defending your honor to a keyboard warrior is not worth it—it took years of defending my honor to realize this.

Also, just because you hit delete on a Tweet does not mean it is suddenly gone forever. People will take screenshots and your temporary lapse in judgment will live on forever.

This is not an attempt to have you not interact with people on social media, I have opened so many professional and social doors through it. But as time goes on and companies are investing more and more into getting a full background picture on their employees, it is time to stop and think before you hit send.

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Bob is the Digital Content, Marketing Manager for NexGoal and has been writing in the digital world for 10-plus years.