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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Social Media Mistakes that May Cost You a Job

By Dan Atkerson on August 31, 2015

Image of faces of business people with boss in frontWhen you’re on the job hunt, it’s generally a good idea to clean up a little. Get a fresh haircut, pull out your finest threads and have them professionally cleaned (or Mom cleaned), and then clean up your social media presence. In a recent study done by Jobvite, 93 percent of managers in charge of making new hires admitted to looking up a candidate’s social media accounts before making a final decision.

Social media has become such a widespread part of our current culture, and more often than not, the long-term consequences of making your private life public aren’t taken into account. The fact is that once it’s out, it’s usually out there somewhere forever. However, there is still a chance to do some “cleaning” before the hiring managers see it all on your profile.

There are a few subjects that get stronger reactions from hiring managers. Consider deleting or fixing any posts that fall into any of the following categories:

  • Pablo Escobar – 83 percent of managers say that images or posts regarding the candidate’s illegal drug use was an immediate deal breaker. Put the Mary Jane away.
  • Too Sexy for Your Shirt – Around 70 percent said that overly sexual posts and pictures was another possible reason for dismissal. There were a couple managers (less than 1 percent) that said they were fans of sexual posts… do with that what you will.
  • Potty-Mouth – 66 percent of managers say using a lot of profanity is a turn off. Consider words and phrases like “heavens to Betsy”, “dagnabit”, or “golly gee willikers” as replacements in the future.
  • Drink, Drank, Drunk – Almost half of hiring managers polled stated a distaste for excessive posts and pictures of candidates drinking, talking about drinking, looking forward to drinking, pre-gaming, present-gaming, post-gaming. Take a minute to appreciate H2O.
  • The Cowboy – Half of those hiring managers also say that a bunch of photos and posts of you with your AR-15 can be disconcerting. Limit your posts about firearms to avoid frightening any Democrats.
  • The Politician – Don’t do what I just did above. Try to keep politically charged outbursts to yourself. About 15 percent of hiring managers see them as negatives.
On the flipside, managers don’t want you to not have any fun at all. In fact, most say that a candidate with a happy/fun disposition is desirable. People like happy people… as long as it’s not all drugs, sex, profanity, alcohol, guns, and politics. So unless you’re applying for a position as lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones, go back through your social media and do a little tidying up, or at least set your account to private, to help ensure you get the job you want. However, if you feel you weren’t hired for discriminatory reasons such as age, race, religion, gender, etc., consult an employment attorney to discuss making it right.

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