Social media is playing an increasing role in the way companies run their business, including how they hire. According to CareerBuilder, 60% of hiring managers check out applicants’ social media presence as part of their screening process and over 25% of employers report terminating or reprimanding an employee due to social media faux pas.
You can argue about whether it’s right or fair for hiring managers to snoop around on your social media accounts. Clearly, they are doing it anyway. This means that you have to be vigilant.
I asked my readers over at Twitter what career killing mistakes applicants and employees should avoid on social media and got dozens of replies. Here are the best responses.
1. Being dramatic, combative or insulting
“We all have those moments. You post something and some rude person tries to call you out, or you see a post denigrating a friend. In those moments, you might want to give somebody a very public piece of your mind. Resist the urge. Likewise, reconsider sharing your personal or family drama on social media as well. Employers will worry that your lack of discretion could carry over into the workplace.” – Tony Messer, CEO of Wizz Hosting.
2. Having the wrong friends
“Some people are a lot of fun, but being around them can create situations where your professional credibility can hurt you, which can eventually hurt your financial prospects. For example, imagine somebody posting an inappropriate comment about your school/university partying days when you share an innocent throwback Thursday picture. Don’t let others cast you in a bad light. Make generous use of the hide functionality in order to prevent people from making embarrassing comments.” - Shaun Deans, CTO of Cash Stop.
3. Posting when you should be working
“It’s not just what you post, but when you post as well. Potential employers may be concerned if you are posting too much on social media when you should be working. Your current employer will be bothered by this as well.” – Peter Trebek CEO of GoTranscript.
4. Bad-mouthing past employers
“As a leader, recruiter and trainer for the past 30 years, I’ve always found the words and language a candidate uses to be strong indicators of who you might be partnering with. For me, I’ve always listened for keywords, such as contribution, success, ownership, integrity, and an ownership mentality. “I immediately shy away from candidates who use “they” and “couldn’t,” and who display problem-oriented versus solution-oriented dialogue. Social media provides an opportunity to learn about a candidate prior to investing time and energy on a phone or face-to-face conversation. Remember, once those words cross your lips or leave your finger tips, they are available for everyone to see. Forever.” - Carey F. Wolf, VP of Sales, IntelliQuote.
5. Lack of discretion when interviewing with big name employers
“You’ve landed an interview with one of those companies. You know, one of the dream companies that make the ‘best places to work’ lists every year? Now what? Well, first of all, be discrete. The last thing you want to do is spread it around social media, start name dropping, or giving out insider info.” - Dave Wright, CEO of Mind Lab Pro.
6. Poor grammar and spelling in your posts
“Yes, social media is a casual platform, and you aren’t required to use the Queen’s English. That doesn’t mean that you can get by with posts that are full of embarrassing spelling and grammar errors. Employ a bit of editing to ensure that your posts meet some basic standards of quality.” – Michael Corkery, President of Pool Guard USA.
7. Professional profiles that contradict your resume
“It isn’t necessarily a problem to strategically write your resume to make yourself look as good as possible, unless you tell a lie. The fastest way to tell a lie and get caught is to forget to bring your social media profiles in line with your resume. For example, if you would prefer to leave a short, regrettable job off of your resume, then you should probably leave it off of your social profiles as well.” – Dan Fox, CEO of Boss Laser.
8. Failing to establish a social media presence whatsoever
“You might be tempted to simply eliminate your social media presence entirely or never start one to begin with. Unfortunately, this is a bad idea. Many employers won’t consider someone who doesn’t have a social media presence. Besides, there’s so much good that having a social media presence can do for your career.” – Peter Mendez, CEO of Crafted NY.
9. Forwarding spam chain mail and false news posts
“Unfortunately, it’s become nearly impossible to scroll through your feed without seeing a post that claims you must share it lest you be accused of being heartless in some way, or threatening you with bad luck if you don’t pass it along. Not only are these posts irritating to others when you pass them along, potential employers view them negatively as well. Resist the urge to forward these, doing so casts doubt on your critical thinking skills and judgment.” – Judith Bolen, CEO of Five Aces Plumbing.