Social Media Profiles Might Cost You a Job, but They Can Get You Hired, Too

We have written a lot this week about how social networking websites can affect your job, but it is important to keep in mind that your social media profiles can also have a drastic impact if you are currently seeking employment. Last November, the internet news website Mashable highlighted the findings of a survey conducted by social media monitoring service Reppler to see when and how job recruiters are screening potential candidates on different social networks.

The survey found that 91 percent of employers are using social networking sites to screen employees, with 76 percent using Facebook, 53 percent using Twitter and 48 percent using LinkedIn. Nearly half of those surveyed said that they checked such sites after receiving an application, while 27 percent said they looked after an initial conversation with the prospective employees. Another 15 percent indicated they would check after “detailed conversations” with the applicant. Only 7 percent indicated they did not use such sites to screen employees.

The proof that your social media profiles can be a double-edged sword was evident in the responses to two other questions. When asked if they had ever rejected a candidate because of something they saw about them on a social networking site, 69 percent of respondents said they had. However, nearly the same amount (68 percent) conversely said that they hired a candidate because of what they saw on such sites.

While most survey respondents said lying about qualifications was the top reason (13 percent) for rejecting candidates after viewing those sites, candidates who posted inappropriate photos, posted inappropriate comments, posted negative comments about a previous employer or demonstrated poor communication skills all received 11 percent each.

The candidates who were actually hired because of what was found on their social networking sites “gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit” to 39 percent of respondents. Profiles that supported professional qualifications and profiles that showed the candidate was creative were cited by 36 percent each.

Being denied a job because of this type of screening is not a violation of employment law. In truth, if you are careful about what you post and what you share, the evidence certainly suggests that a well-maintained profile can actually help you get hired, not denied.

Law Offices of Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob – Los Angeles employment lawyers