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Are these social media mistakes costing you a job?

Aug 29, 2018

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Recruiters and hiring managers are creeps. Because a recent study found 93 per cent are using social media in their sourcing process to creep qualified talent where they're hanging out online.

Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn remains the most used channel for professional recruitment, with 77 per cent of recruiters looking up candidates on the platform. However, 63 per cent will also find you on Facebook, and even further, with the rise of the Millennial recruiter, 35 per cent are investing in Instagram recruitment efforts.

Social media is a powerful vehicle for communicating your personal brand, yet your digital footprint stays put long after you've walked away from the keyboard. Privacy settings can protect your content, but if you choose to have public profiles, avoid making these online mistakes that could affect your offline employment status. 

1. Using controversial profile photos
Even if your account settings are set to private, your social media profile photos are still available. And while using a professional image on LinkedIn is an obvious choice, what are you using on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest or Instagram? During your job search, choose profile photos that present a professional and friendly image. 

2. Posting controversial media 
Whether it's tagged content or a photo you've posted, the old adage remains: A picture can say 1000 words (and a video will replay them)... Avoid posting media that features anything a hiring manager could deem inappropriate or controversial, and set your privacy settings to approve tagged content before it can appear on your timeline.


Jobvite finds 42% of recruiters go digging for pictures of alcohol consumption on candidates' social media profiles.


3. Appearing over opinionated 
Hiring managers agree that likability is the #1 hiring factor, and posting content that's consistently negative, radical or over opinionated isn't a very likable quality. Comments can also become misconstrued, appearing discriminatory -- or worse, and companies that have policies against discrimination in place won't consider your candidacy if you've already broken that policy before you're hired.  

4. Friending your interviewer on Facebook
It's a lot more common than you think. Hiring managers also want to appear friendly and approachable, but they aren't trying to befriend you. If you want to connect online, send a post-interview thank-you note via LinkedIn.

5. Bashing your current boss (or co-workers or workplace)  
While you would never talk negative about your boss, co-workers or workplace during an interview, you also want to avoid venting about them on online. A hiring manager will automatically assume that if you're publicly airing private grievances about a past or current employer, you will do the same to their company, brand and reputation as well. 

6. Boasting about a current job offer
You may want to pause before you post about that opportunity! Sometimes offers are confidential, and an offer isn't a sure thing. If it looks like you're capable of breaking a confidentiality before you're hired, it may position you as untrustworthy in the hiring manager's eyes.

7. Being online (all. the. time)
Time stamps don't lie. If you're expected to work during a set period of hours, yet you're always appearing online during the work week, a hiring manager is likely to question your level of engagement, efficiency and interest in employment. 

8. Not being online at all 
LinkedIn is the world's largest professional networking platform, and hiring managers will look for you there. Eighty nine per cent of companies have hired via LinkedIn, and recruiters and hiring managers will look to the platform to verify your work history. If you aren't there, your candidacy can be dismissed for someone who is. 

9. Sliding into LinkedIn DM's (without any smooth moves)
Private messages are tricky and require a certain finesse. And unsolicited, blanket communications will most likely get deleted. If you've previously met the recruiter or hiring manager, tailor your message to that encounter, succinctly describe what you're searching for and attach your resume.

If you've applied to a role and wish to follow up with the recruiter or hiring manager responsible for filling that position, reach out with a brief note expressing that you're following up on your application, include the job ID and your resume. Learn more about reaching out on LinkedIn here. 

10. Not searching by hashtags
Twitter has more uses than communicating in under 140 characters. It's also a place where content is aggregated using hashtags, and recruiters and hiring managers use them when searching for talent. If you're a developer living in Toronto, you can search for a #JavaScript #Job in #Toronto using the hashtags. 

11. Spelling errors and bad grammar 
Some social networks are more social than others. The way we communicate with friends on Facebook will be different than the way we engage with connections on LinkedIn, but poor spelling and grammar on any platform could put your professionalism into question.


Jobvite finds 43% of recruiters go digging for spelling & grammar mistakes on candidates' social media profiles.


12. Inconsistent work histories
When a recruiter or hiring manager has interest in your resume, he or she will verify your hard copy work history against your digital LinkedIn profile. And if the companies, dates or positions don't match, it will bring your experience into question. 

13. Not creeping
Pre-interview research will prepare you for the meeting, and this recon should include a quick social media search on the company you're interviewing with.

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn will provide insights on things like company culture and the people who work there. This information will guide you in how to dress for your interview, provide insights on the company's values and beliefs and help you become familiar with the type of content related to the brand. 

14. Frequent political ranting 

We live in a world where there’s a lot going on. And freedom of speech was fought for so we can express our views without fear, but too many posts about your personal beliefs can scare away a potential employer. Critical thinking is lost when people engage in extremism. It can create situations that are very unpleasant and potentially might impact professional relationships all around.


Jobvite finds 47% of recruiters go digging for political rants on candidates' social media profiles.


15. Injustice collecting
Does everything bad always happen to you? Do family, friends, co-workers and everything in between always seem to be following you around, and no one seems to get it!? Well, a recruiter or hiring manager will get the impression that you may be hard to work with. 

When you're on a job search, remember: You may want to pause before you post!

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