Facebook posts that hurt, boost job prospects

These days it’s a given that hiring managers are likely to check out a candidate’s social media profile before releasing a job offer of even considering the person for a job interview.

Nearly two in five companies (39 per cent) used social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 37 per cent last year, according to market research firm Harris Interactive Inc.

But which Facebook posts, tweets or YouTube video are likely to sink your career aspirations and which ones might just give you that extra advantage over the competition?

The recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive for job search company CareerBuilder found six types of social media posts that could reflect badly on a job candidate and seven types of social media posts that could have the opposite effect.

The survey, conducted from February to March this year, involved 2,100 hiring managers and human resources professionals.

“Employers are using all the tools available to them to assure they make the correct hiring decision and the use of social media continues to grow,” according to Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “For job seekers, it is essential to be aware of what information they are making available to employers.”

Among the top six social media content cited by employers who decided not to hire a candidate were:

  • Provocative or inappropriate images: 50 per cent
  • Info about a candidate drinking or using drugs: 48 per cent
  • Candidate bad mouthed a previous employer: 33 per cent
  • Candidate had poor communications skills: 30 per cent
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc.: 28 per cent
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 24 per cent

The following are types of social media information that made a candidate more attractive or “solidified” their prospects of being hired:

  • Posts that conveyed a professional image: 57 per cent
  • Posts that provided a “good feel” for the candidates personality: 50 per cent
  • Candidates showed a well-rounded personality and wide range of interests: 50 per cent
  • Background information supported stated professional qualifications: 49 per cent
  • Creativity: 46 per cent
  • Great communications skills: 43 per cent
  • Other people posted great references about the candidate 38 per cent

To ensure that you’re presenting the appropriate image to potential employers Haefner suggests you do the following:

Conduct some self-searching – Research you own online personality. Check out what other people are saying about you. Find out what posts are likely to turn off a potential employer and take them out

Review your privacy settings – Find out what information on your various social media networks is available to the public. Make the appropriate privacy setting changes

Highlight your talents and achievements – Take the time to update your professional and personal profile to showcase activities and accomplishments that give a positive image of your brand


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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