What goes through your head before you press publish on your latest Facebook post or tweet that funny anecdote? Probably, how many people will comment on it or if your tweet will get more retweets than your last? Perhaps, did I spell everything correctly? Maybe not, will my current or future employer see this?

Clean social mediaAccording to research by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers now use social media to screen candidates before hiring, so that non PC post you might have found funny and shared 6 months ago might end up costing you in your job search.

But why are they checking? Are an application and an interview not enough? When researching candidates for a job, 61% of employers use social networking sites to look for information that supports the candidates’ qualifications, 50% check to see if the candidate has a professional online persona, 37% want to see what other people are posting about the candidate and a surprising 24% are looking for a reason not to make a hire.

It isn’t just social media that’s not safe from the eyes of the HR department, 69% of employers are also using search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates.

What can be done?

Don’t go gung ho and delete all your social media profiles in an attempt to hide from employers searching for you, not having an online presence might be as bad as posting something stupid – 57% of employers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find them online.

But what if you are a known party animal or have a sense of humour few appreciate and know there’s evidence online? Now’s the time to review your social media profiles and make use of the privacy settings available to you. On Facebook, you can even go as far as changing the privacy settings on individual posts, so the employers searching for you can view your profile but can’t see that post from the last bank holiday when you had a bit too much to drink.

As with most things, prevention is better than the cure, so stop to think before you hit that share or publish button so you don’t have to rely on your privacy settings. More than half of employers that haven’t hired someone because of what they’ve seen on their social media profiles said the candidate missed out because of these types of content:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • Information about drinking or using drugs
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion
  • Bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
  • Lied about qualifications
  • Had poor communication skills
  • Was linked to criminal behaviour
  • Shared confidential information from previous employers
  • Screen name was unprofessional
  • Lied about an absence
  • Posted too frequently
  • Don’t rest on your laurels

You’ve made sure you haven’t committed any of the sins above and you’ve landed a new role, time to go back to posting whatever you want, whenever you want, right? Employers don’t just use online researching to scope out potential candidates, more than half use it to keep tabs on current employees and 31% have found content online that has caused them to discipline or fire an employee.

Not all doom

Social media is a powerful tool and it doesn’t just have the ability to land you in hot water. Nurture your online presence and you can reap the rewards – 44% of employers have found content online that has caused them to hire a candidate, including background information supporting their professional qualifications, great communication skills, a professional image and creativity.

So, while you’re busy cultivating your online image why not let us help you find your next role. Get in contact with us now.