Can Social Media Hurt your Job Search?

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Photo credit: thethreesisters

I have a secret to admit…whenever I interview a candidate and think they would be a good fit for an opening I have, I always search the candidate’s name on Google before I submit the candidate to a business owner or hiring manager. I am located in Ohio and responsible for hiring all across the United States and Canada.  I don’t have the luxury of meeting all the candidates in person. For this reason, I feel the need to do as much research on a potential candidate as possible, since my name and reputation are at stake. Up until just a few weeks ago, I’ve never rejected a candidate based on what I saw on their social media accounts.

I recently interviewed a candidate for an immediate opening I had. The candidate did great on the interview and I knew she would be a great fit for the position. Before I submitted this individual to the business owner, I looked her up on Google. Nothing really stood out to me as a “red flag” so I moved on. At the bottom of the candidate’s resume, she listed the different social media websites she was a member of and included a link to each of her accounts. She had a link for LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

I went to her LinkedIn page first. It was well done and I could tell that she spent a good amount of time making sure it looked professional. The next site I went to changed my positive thinking about her. I opened her Twitter account. Her Twitter updates were mostly racist and very inappropriate. She had posts making fun of people she worked with and encountered through work. For example, she had one post talking about how much she hated visiting a particular client and made a point to use the company name and her contact’s name and how she couldn’t wait for it to be over. She had other posts where she said negative comments about her boss and current employer.

For those who know me, I can be very sarcastic and some don’t always understand my humor. I have a Facebook page and I’ll admit, some of my posts are questionable. I’m a diehard Michigan Wolverines fan and I have posts talking about Michigan State and Ohio State, but I am very selective about who can view my posts. Only my friends can view them and I make sure that I don’t say anything negative that could affect me personally at my job.

After reviewing her social media accounts, I decided against sending this candidate to the business owner. When the business owner asked me for an update on my search, I told him the truth about how I had a great candidate who could easily fill the position, but after looking at her Twitter, I decided against it. He questioned me on why I did that, so I explained and even pulled up her account so I could read some of her posts to him. He agreed and thanked me for the research I did on his behalf.

In today’s world, almost everybody has some sort of social media account. Is there anything negative on yours that could hinder a new job opportunity or potential business deal? Are your social media accounts private and if not, is there anything questionable or inappropriate you may not want others to see? Take a few minutes to update your account settings and review some of your questionable posts. You never know who may come across it.

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