“Watch what you post online – once it’s out there, it’s out there forever.” This is perhaps one of the most repeated warnings to the younger generations today. And while it’s annoying to hear over and over again, it’s true. In fact, 70% of employers check out candidates’ social profiles, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Wait? Shouldn’t your life outside of work be your own … and private? No matter how you feel about that, the simple fact is that employers are checking and making hiring decisions based on what they find. 57% of employers have passed on a candidate because of something they found, according to a recent study. That’s over half, meaning you’re more likely to get passed over because of that inappropriate Tweet than not.
If you’re getting nervous, maybe it’s time to take a look at your accounts. The number one thing that caused employers to pass on someone was inappropriate or provocative photos, followed by photos or posts about drinking or drug use. So yes, even if you’re 21, you still might want to think twice about posting that blurry picture from the club.
Before you go deleting your social existence, 47% of employers said they’re less likely to call a candidate if they can’t find the person online. So, if they come across your squeaky clean, PG profile, you’re already a step ahead. In fact, 20% of employers expect candidates to have an online presence. And your presence can work in your favor. Hiring managers are looking for signs of professionalism as well as trying to learn a bit more about your personality. That family picture in the pumpkin patch could resonate with someone whose company puts an emphasis on work-life balance.
So, to all those who feel social media is the place to express yourself, think again. Your nasty political battles via Facebook comments or that picture from your friend’s bachelor party could quash your chances at landing a job. The next time you go to post something, think to yourself, “is this something I wouldn’t mind my boss seeing?” Even if the answer is “depends on the boss” you probably shouldn’t be posting it. Then again, who knows? Maybe you’ll work for the 30% of employers who don’t check out candidates’ social media. Are those odds you’re willing to bet on?
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