- Be aware, job seekers: anything you post publicly can be seen by a potential or current employer, who may even use it to make hiring decisions.
- 74% of hiring managers say they use social media to screen candidates.
- Social media platforms can be a double-edged sword; while they can enhance your chances of landing a job, they can also jeopardize them if not managed properly.
Logically, most people know that posting publicly online means anyone can see what you’ve posted. But the ambiguity of “anyone” often makes it easy to forget that those unknown people might not just judge you for an opinion, they might use it to make a decision that could change your entire career.
Savvy job seekers have known for a long time that some companies review social media before hiring, but it’s no longer just some. Social media has become a key component of many organizations’ evaluation process of potential employees.
According to a recent survey of hiring managers by ResumeBuilder, an astounding 83% of hiring managers in the United States turn to Facebook to vet job candidates. And that’s not all; Instagram (50%), Twitter (31%), and TikTok (24%) are also used to determine if applicants are a good fit for their organization.
Survey key findings:
- 74% of hiring managers say they use social media to screen candidates
- 68% of hiring managers overall say they use social media to find answers to illegal interview questions
- 85% of those who screen using social media have passed on candidates due to information obtained
What exactly are employers looking for on social media?
Mostly, they want to make sure the candidate is a good culture fit (55%), but they’re also on the lookout for illegal activity (45%), trying to satisfy their curiosity (34%), and see if the candidate is invested in their career (29%).
A majority (57%) of hiring managers who use social media as part of their evaluation process say they view candidates’ social media before the interview, while 43% say they typically view it afterward. It’s clear that employers take social media presence seriously, as 85% of those who screen using social media have passed on candidates due to information obtained.
In short, when considering a job, it’s essential to remember the power of social media — so make sure your presence is one you can stand by.
Chief Career Advisor at Resume Builder Stacie Haller told Allwork.Space, “This survey shows that when hiring managers want to find out information that is not the norm or legal during the hiring process, there is a cohort group who will go to other means to get the info and subsequently make a part of the screening process.”
“What we see is that the old ways managers would do this, known as a backdoor reference, is when they reach out to other people asking about the person without the person being interviewed ever knowing,” she added. “The advent of social media has made this more prevalent and unfortunately much easier for this group. It’s important that any current or future job seeker understands that their social media may be used to screen them when seeking a new position.”
Employers: Take note
Social media can reveal protected characteristics such as race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, disability, and others that may not be evident in a resume. If an employer uses this information to influence their hiring decision, they could be liable for discrimination.
Of employers who admit to viewing applicants’ social media accounts, 38% sometimes take a peek in order to obtain details that can’t be asked in an interview. 24% rarely investigate in this way and 22% never do. Some of the prohibited info they try to uncover includes age (37%), political views (26%), gender identity (19%), marital status (19%), race/ethnicity (17%), disability status (17%), sexual orientation (11%), religion (11%) and pregnancy status (9%).
Employees: Be cautious
Be aware, job seekers: anything you post publicly can be seen by a potential or current employer, who may even use it to make hiring decisions. The safest option is to keep your accounts private, but if you feel discriminated against in the recruitment process, it’s wise to seek legal advice.
Here are some good social media hygiene tips for job seekers and current employees:
In the digital age, maintaining a professional online presence is crucial, especially when it comes to job hunting.
Social media platforms can be a double-edged sword; while they can enhance your chances of landing a job, they can also jeopardize them if not managed properly. To safeguard your career, it’s essential to review and adjust your privacy settings on social media platforms. This includes checking who can see your posts, what others see on your profile, updating your friend list, restricting access from third-party apps, scrutinizing your location-sharing settings, and considering what’s in your profile and what you share.
Regular monitoring and cleaning up of your virtual presence is also recommended. When posting on social media, always think twice. Maintain a respectful tone and separate personal and professional accounts where possible. Inappropriate profile pictures, poor grammar, tasteless comments, and trash talking your company can negatively impact your employment prospects. To improve your chances for future employment, use social media to showcase your personality, professionalism, communication skills, interests, creativity, and references.
However, remember that employers may use these platforms as informal background checks, so ensure your online persona aligns with your professional image.
Legal considerations also come into play; federal law prevents employers from discriminating against an employee because of their personal social media, but employers can legally terminate employees for reasons they may not disclose. Therefore, it’s important to keep your social media activity professional and respectful.
In terms of specific platforms, Instagram, being a highly visual platform, requires careful selection of images and videos. Twitter, unless set to private, is visible to anyone — including potential employers. Facebook, often seen as more secure, still requires vigilance about what users post to your wall or tag you in. TikTok, a rapidly growing platform, can give employers a sense of who you are, but content should remain appropriate and professional.
While social media can be a powerful tool in showcasing your skills and personality to potential employers, it’s crucial to manage your online presence carefully to avoid any negative impacts on your career prospects.