Recruiters Confess: 6 Social Media No-Nos That Can Knock You Out of the Running


491323049Relationship expert Blaire Allison was ecstatic when she was recruited to cohost a Florida radio dating show and answer callers’ questions as “The Love Guru.”

She’d aced the first round of interviews and even taped a trial segment, which the producers loved.

That’s why what happened next came as such a surprise.

She was in the editing room, mapping out the show, when her cohost was suddenly called away for a meeting. Upon his return, he informed her that the job offer was being rescinded.

When Allison pressed him for more information, he revealed that her social media footprint was the source of contention.

Allison ran an event planning business on the side, specializing in playful, semi-racy girls’ nights out for birthdays and bachelorette parties. But when the radio station’s conservative director stumbled across some PG-13 event photos she’d posted online, he decided hiring her wasn’t worth the risk of losing advertisers.

“I was upset—I really wanted that job,” Allison says. “I was also surprised because I thought the pictures were just innocent fun—there was no nudity or obscenity.”

Think this disappointing experience couldn’t happen to you?

Well, as it turns out, it’s actually quite common—especially in media and tech companies, where the internet is an integral part of the office culture. In fact, in a 2014 Jobvite survey, 55% of recruiters admitted to reconsidering candidates based on their social media profiles.

“A lot of people put things out there without realizing the ramifications,” says David Blacker, a Tampa-based 20-year veteran headhunter and founder of Venerate Media Group, a company that provides social media and PR services. “The internet is a living, breathing entity that goes on indefinitely, and assessing a candidate’s social media presence is one of the top things recruiters do.”

To help you from getting burned by an internet blunder, we’ve rounded up six social media behaviors that could alienate a recruiter during your job search. Learn why they send the wrong message—and what you can do instead to come out looking supremely hirable.

RELATED: 10 Social Media Blunders That Will Hurt Your Career

  • Greg S

    Honestly – and, we can be honest, right? One of the first things that I do when I get a name is look up the persons LinkedIn/Facebook just to see additional attributes that will help me judge someone. Hiring is just that, it’s judging somebody , passing an opinion on whether they will be a good fit. Sometimes, it’s way obvious that someone may or may not be a social fit from what is gleaned from social media.

    • Rain

      YOU are exactly why I keep ,y pages hidden, my circles small, and I require my own consent for posts Im tagged in. Its not fair to judge someone for a job based on what they think politicLLY, THEIR RELIGION OR LACK OF, AND WHO THEY ARE FRIENDS WITH AND RELATED TOO. i THINK ITS INTRUSIVE and not a good way to form an opinion of someone nor does it indicate how well someone will do the job you need done. I also dont use my legal name on social media, so people like you cant look me up anyway. I hope we never meet in a prof situation.

      • Greg S

        I too hope that don’t meet in a ‘prof situation’ – I can tell that ‘you’re just not a good fit – but, thanks for applying!”

        • nicole gratson

          Trust us. We’re not applying.

  • Jessica S

    I’ve lost friends over this type of stuff because I ask them to consult me before they post pictures of me. Even lost a friend just after my wedding because she blatantly ignored a request that certain humorous (fully clad pg-17) photos from my soon-to-be husband and my pre-wedding celebration not be posted. Her idea was “if you don’t want it online don’t do it.” but that makes no sense. Why can’t I just have a little fun with my friends and family in a private setting without someone feeling that the world should be present via social media photos. Sometimes I think social media is just a little too advanced for such people who can’t distinguish between what’s private and what’s public.

  • TiffanyDJ

    Wait, so discriminating comments about race, gender or religion aren’t good, but neither is posting about pregnancy because it might not get you hired?

    • Greg S

      ah, yeah. Let’s say that you are on a shortlist of 10 people for a job – the employer finds out that you’re 7 months pregnant. Ummm… there’s going to be 9 people on that shortlist now. Is it right? Probably not. It is technically legal? Probably not. Does it happen? You better believe it.

      Let’s think about it from an employers perspective. Why do we hire? Because we need somebody. When do we need them? Prolly ASAP. So – you can continue the thought process as to why it may not be a positive thing to advertise.

      • TiffanyDJ

        My point is that companies can be discriminatory, but the prospective employee can’t be? It’s hypocritical. I understand why a company might come to the conclusion to not a hire a more qualified candidate because they are pregnant (because I’m not a total idiot), but it’s not right. If a company is likely to not hire me because I’m pregnant, it’s not a company I want to work for. But I am fortunate enough that I can make that choice. My current employer is not discriminatory against pregnant women and, in fact, is a particularly family-friendly place. And, also, it’s illegal to not hire a candidate because they are pregnant, but that obviously doesn’t stop some companies from giving a stock answer why they didn’t hire a pregnant employee and getting away with.

        And, yes, I know that this is the reality of the workforce and we have to be aware of that, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out the discriminatory and hypocritical behavior of the corporations.

        • Greg S

          Interestingly, I just saw that a survey found that job managers in the UK were just 5% likely to offer a job to a pregnant applicant. That’s pretty low.

          I think the entire point of this story is (and, as your last sentence stated so clearly) “as unfair as it may be, it is what it is, please don’t post something to social media that would hurt my chances of employment” and I think that’s a fair thing to ask of any relationship.

          I agree 100% with your last paragraph. You’re exactly right. Also, I also work where discrimination-free workplace … they don’t even discriminate against my race or religion.

          • TiffanyDJ

            That’s ridiculously low. Also, this:

            “Fifty-two percent said that when making a hire, they assessed the
            likelihood of a candidate’s getting pregnant, taking into account her
            age and whether she had recently married.”

            I’m a young woman, unmarried-with-no-kids, but in a long-term relationship, and this is completely and totally discriminatory. I know it’s not the point of the Learnvest article, but it just seemed like they kind of glossed over the fact. I felt it should at least be mentioned a little more strongly.

            Personally, if a company would not hire me because I was pregnant, it wouldn’t be a company I would want to work at, but I’m also in a good job and not in a position where I’m pregnant and need a job to pay my bills, so I can be picky about where I work.

      • nicole gratson

        Prolly? Really. Look who is calling the kettle black. What an idiot.

        • Greg S

          How cute, you can call people names through your keyboard that you’d never say to someones face. You should feel very proud of your brave self. /sarc

  • Anne

    I would like to point out the irony here: it is “stock-in-trade” and not “stock and trade.” You have that right after Recruiter Confession #4: Spelling and Grammar Mistakes. You’re welcome!

  • papillon

    The only social media I’m on is LinkdIn which I rarely use. This article makes a convincing argument that maybe it’s time for me to shut that down as well.

    • paganheart

      It’s a double-edged sword, though. Yes, anything you post on social media basically can and will be used as an excuse to not hire you. But on the other hand, I’ve read and heard elsewhere that if you have no social media presence, hiring managers will think you’re some sort of technological Luddite, or else that you’re going out of your way to hide something, and they’ll use that as an excuse not to hire you. So basically, you can’t win…. *sigh* Personally I left Facebook a long time ago, I have a bare-bones LinkedIn profile and a locked-down Twitter account (no followers allowed) and that’s the extent of my social media (unless this Disqus accounts is considered social media….I suppose it is….crud….)

  • ITBVision

    This is the reason that we should be very careful while posting anything over social media.