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Unemployed? Blame Your (Lack of) Social Media Presence


If you’ve been extra cautious about your online presence to the extent of not having any, you may actually be hurting your chances of landing a job. Employers are increasingly resorting to social media to check out a candidate’s profile and see if they are a fit for their organization.


(Photo Credit: petesimon/Flickr)

According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 35 percent of employers are less likely to interview applicants they can’t find online. The survey, conducted online on 2,175 hiring and human resource managers and 3,105 employees online within the U.S., found that 52 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 43 percent last year and 39 percent in 2013.

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In cases where prospective employees had kept their profiles private, 35 percent of employers have sent out requests to candidates to receive access.

Depending on what the hiring manager found online, candidatures were pursued or rejected. According to the survey the foremost reasons for rejection were: 

Provocative or inappropriate photographs – 46 percent 

Information about candidate drinking or using drugs – 40 percent 

Reasons for hiring were: 

Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications – 42 percent

Candidate’s personality came across as good fit with company culture – 38 percent.

So what can you do to keep your profile clean?

1. Google yourself regularly. Check out the results so you know what your prospective employers are looking at. This will help you also fix some damaging presence.

2. Set your security settings so not everything you share is public. You can control the audience to your posts by choosing who you’d want to share your content with. But remember that you may not have control over how this information is shared further. So be prudent of all information shared online.

3. Share information that will help your candidature. Your recent certifications, volunteering experience, or interests that could help in your job – for example, coding or membership in professional societies could help your candidature.

4. Be active in associations and forums that help in your job hunt. Offer your expertise and network when possible. This could help when the hiring manager is browsing forums to find the right candidate. 

5. If you must, evaluate if you should be doing something to manage your online reputation. At all costs, avoid these social media mistakes.

Tell Us What You Think

How has social media worked against you in the hiring process? Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Padmaja Ganeshan Singh
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Brad MorrisSB Recent comment authors
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If a company is using social media to discriminate against potential employees they should be sued. The likelihood of broaching on legally protected ground is incredibly high. This seems like a way of skirting around those issues while not directly having to ask “awkward” even illegal questions

Brad Morris
Brad Morris

Padmaja: Good article. Could you please help me with an issue. What about what employers (mostly potential employers) think about your interaction on social media for *non-business* issues, especially “hot button” issues like religion, politics, abortion, immigration, LGBT issues etc etc. Also, assume that any interaction is civil, well mannered, but at the same time passionate (so no irrational tirades with lots of F-bombs) – Do employers take the time to look at this (say, my opinion on a WSJ… Read more »

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