How to Land or Lose a Job Through Social Media

Due to the prevalence of social media, companies and universities are starting to research potential candidates through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites. A costly picture or post found by a boss could hurt your chances at receiving a job or cause you to lose an existing job. Trying to identify inappropriate material by searching through thousands of Facebook photos is tedious and a waste of time. Fortunately, Julie Fisher has created a new way to monitor social media content: The Social U

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After a client links his or her profile, The Social U scans and grades a student’s social media for the kinds of posts that could cause problems in the future. The software searches out high-risk words, photos, videos, concepts and sentiments connected to your account. The goal of Social U is to make social media management easy and convenient for students and employees. The Social U pulls on an experienced staff to look at profiles through the lens of teachers, college admissions officers, parents, and tech savvy individual. Fisher says the biggest problem she sees is alcohol abuse.640x0The problem with teenagers using social media is their sarcasm does not translate well online. Politics, Sex, Narcissistic selfies, and crude language, all serve as problems for teen social media use. However, students and employees should not be discouraged from using social media in positive ways. In order to brand themselves for a job or employer, people should post positive content through their social media accounts. Instagram and Facebook are two great ways to demonstrate ones interests to future employers. There is a possibility a boss or college admissions officers will have the same interest as you and will remember your name in the future. People can also use Facebook or LinkedIn to debate in a professional and courteous manner with your peers, just as long as you use a respectful and an appropriate demeanor.  Stay away from posting negative comments about school, work, or any other involvements. A good rule of thumb is to only post content you would be comfortable saying in an interview.

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In a survey conducted of 300 hiring professionals, they gave these reasons for hiring or rejecting a candidate.

Positive Feedback

  1. Give a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  2. Profile supported their professional qualifications
  3. Profile showed candidate was creative
  4. Profile showed candidate was well-rounded
  5. Candidate had good references posted by others

Negative Feedback

  1. Lied about qualifications
  2. Posted inappropriate photo
  3. Posted inappropriate comment
  4. Posted negative content about previous employer
  5. Posted content about drug/alcohol use

While 70% of employers said they rejected a candidate for the content posted, an equal percentage hired a candidate because of what they saw online. People should use their social media sites as an additional tool to demonstrate their qualifications and attributes. Instead of just making your profile suitable for employers, create a page that demonstrates your qualifications and shows how you would fit into company culture. Social media is also a valuable source to obtaining a job. Along with presenting oneself as a professional individual, a profile serves as a networking, engagement, and search tool. Profiles can be used to research an interviewee or find a job posting. So next time you are posting something on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, make sure the content will present yourself as a professional, positive, and qualified candidate.

8 comments

  1. I know a lot of people who could really make use of this tool! Throughout my teenage years, my mom would always tell me that I would regret posting inappropriate pictures and comments on the internet. I didn’t believe her until I spoke with an HR rep at my company this summer about how seriously companies consider social media profiles during the hiring process. A picture of underage drinking or a negative comment about your boss could be the difference in getting your dream job. I like the positives you mentioned because I think most young people could use a lesson on how to use social media as a personal branding tool. Highlighting your passions, strong relationships and other features on social media will make you seem like a good person and coworker. My only fear with relying on apps like this is that students will never take it upon themselves to learn what is and isn’t right to put on the internet. Teenagers need to realize that their actions have consequences, and there won’t always be an app available to catch their mistakes.

  2. This was a great blog post. I was but surprised to learn in class that many employers require the passwords of Facebook and other social media accounts. It many cases you have to provide those passwords or forego the job. You are quite right is stating that we shouldn’t avoid social media out of paranoia but instead we should make sure that the content we post is always positive and respectful. The Social U is an excellent that is free to join but price segmented for reports. Reporting costs: 1 month ($99), 3 months ($129), 6 months ($179) and 12 months ($249). It would be interesting to learn how they determined their pricing strategy. I don’t know if The Social U has any competitors but I thought it would make sense to have a lower monthly pricing in order to generate a critical mass of users. Perhaps charging $25 or $30? Anything lower than the current monthly fee of $99. Let’s see how popular this service becomes. Nice post.

  3. At my last company, we used to do a quick online search on applicants in order to figure out what they were like. I’ve definitely seen my fair share of candidates get rejected for having unflattering photos on facebook or racy tweets. I think Social U is a great tool and it’s addressing multiple needs. Parents may not be sure what their children are posting online and this quick scan might shed some light on how their profiles compare.

    I agree with @abryeans – with an app like this, a kid might not ever know right/wrong on social media because they’ve always been told what their “grade” is – and, as we know… all it takes is one screenshot to go viral on the internet.

  4. I know that people (mostly adults) are always talking about how to keep our social media pages very appropriate and professional these days and that we shouldn’t post anything that we wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, but I have some major issues with this. Not that I think it is ever ok to be posting inappropriate, rude or offensive things, but I think that employers are taking this a bit too far. We are all college students (and most of us 21 years old at this point) and I think that what employers fail to realize is that regardless of what our social media pages might portray about partying, etc., we know how to properly conduct ourselves in the workplace. We know how to be professional and we know how to get our jobs done timely and effectively. I think that it is almost unfair to judge someone based on their social media presence because that it not how they are conducting themselves at work and that should not be held against them. I don’t know, just my opinion! Nice job!

  5. Solid post. Social media is a great tool for landing jobs (particularly LinkedIn), but I agree with @samanthamancini about how employers may at times take it too far. When searching for a summer internship last year, I felt the need to purge my social media profiles of any and all content that could be perceived as remotely distasteful or inappropriate. Some of these photos were simply me smiling with friends while holding a beer, yet I deleted them. At times employees seem to hold prospective employees to an unrealistic standard that they themselves do not embody. At the same time, businesses may simply be scanning profiles to see if the candidates cared enough about getting the job that they would be willing to take such measures.

  6. Nice post. I know alot of students use the strategy to take down their social media profiles around job hunt time, but I don’t think that’s a good strategy. I always think its a good idea to have a public profile and a private one on different SM sites.

  7. Great post! Graduation is coming faster than I’d prefer and that means so are the job interviews. I’ve tried doing full screens of my account but I know that it is possible I might have missed an embarrassing post or two. I like that a company like Social U exist in order to help people have good looking social media accounts. I’ve been hearing since high school not to post stupid comments on your account, but no one ever preaches how being positive on social media might actually help a person to get a job. Schools should put more of an emphasis on how to positively influence your account.

  8. Very interesting tool. Didn’t know about it so thanks for sharing!

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