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Being a Jerk on Social Media Can Cost You a Job


While the traditional resume might be on its way out, thanks to professional networks such as LinkedIn, recruiters still diligently check the backgrounds of job applicants — perhaps even more so now than ever. With the mainstream adoption of Facebook and Twitter, everyone has a footprint on the internet that can be used to check for culture fit and personality. However, if you happen to have been a jerk on one of your public social media accounts, your carelessness might end up costing you a job.

(Photo Credit: jasonahowie/Flickr)

A recent infographic with stats compiled by BeHiring shows that 1 out of 3 employers have rejected a candidate based on something they found out about them online. And if you think that only a few companies are searching the social media profiles of applicants, think again: at least 78 percent of job recruiters look up candidates online. 

Do You Know What You're Worth?

It doesn’t take much for a post on social media to cost you the opportunity of a lifetime. Being a jerk about the interview process — especially if you’re offered the job — will definitely cost you. A famous example is when a graduate student landed a paid internship at Cisco, then immediately tweeted, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Cisco, of course, saw the tweet (which went viral) and rescinded the offer. It also likely cost that graduate student any future opportunities and destroyed his reputation, perhaps permanently.

There’s much more to social media than just status updates — and all those pictures of parties from your college days might have been a great way to build relationships and friendships, but they definitely won’t impress a recruiter. Regardless of how old you are, it’s critical to check your privacy settings and ensure that only friends can see these pictures. (It might even be a good idea just to make these albums completely private, just to be safe.)

For example, while you might live in a state such as Washington or Colorado, where engaging in certain activities is legal, some employers may still judge your character and believe your recreational activities may impact work performance or interfere with culture. Posting pictures of partying doesn’t necessarily make you a jerk — but you never know who might think it does.

To increase your chances of getting your foot in the door for the job of your dreams, keep your social media profiles free of any material that could be questionable. It will likely help you avoid being that 1 and 3 rejected for what you share on social media.

Tell Us What You Think

What other aspects of social media should applicants be concerned about? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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