Lookout, Social-Media Can Sink Your Career

Think before you post, especially if you’re looking for a job. It seems like common sense, right?

We have all heard the stories of a promising young professional who, after a grueling interview process, is told, “You are no longer under consideration.” What happened? What derailed the process? It was not their qualifications or work experience. So what could it have been that knocked out this otherwise winning candidate?

It could very well be the candidate’s social media postings. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media pages are alluring, yet potential career-derailing sites.

Most human resource departments look at a candidate’s social media pages to understand their personalities, see if they have a creative flair, find out how well they communicate, and to ensure the candidates are up to the company’s standards. While social media can help a candidate more often than not, it backfires. Many job applicants are misbehaving online, and human resource managers are getting better at sniffing out problems.

Companies look for red flags, including abhorrent behavior like public drinking, nudity, illegal drug use, partying, illicit sex, disrespectful comments, dishonesty as well as anything an employer may consider a clue of the candidate’s character. They, rightly or wrongly, believe the candidate’s posts are a predictor of that candidate’s future conduct, which could reflect poorly on the potential employer.

You can limit who can view their social media pages. I recommend you make all of your pages utterly private so only you can see your content. Even then, you are not entirely safe. Many companies employ individuals who can get around privacy blocks to reveal hidden information.

It should go without saying and worth repeating, that there is no ‘right to privacy’ when a person has posted comments and personal pictures online where anyone can find them. Moreover, it’s difficult to prove that a job seeker has been discriminated against, especially when it comes to internet postings.

To avoid employer scrutiny, job seekers need to know how to shut down their social media sites well in advance of beginning the job search process. As long as you want to be employable, it would be wise to restrain your social-media posts, so they don’t embarrass you or stop you from getting the job of your dreams. It’s your future.