In a recent study, researchers found that a full 34% of businesses use social media to help them determine what candidates they short-list for available job openings. And that's just the companies that openly admit to doing it. Rest assured that the percentage is actually quite a bit higher.
The social networking posts that you put out into the public domain allow businesses to filter you out as a potential employee based on the content they find on these sites. The vast majority of employers take their worker's on-site and off-site conduct very seriously. If you show unsavory behavior online, it can easily make or break your chances of getting hired.
As an employee, it can also get you fired.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at how posting inappropriate things on your social networking sites can have a major negative impact on you and the company you work for.
Imagine that you've finally landed that high-profile job you've been dreaming about. Once hired, they hand you a contract that shows all the terms and conditions of the work you'll be assigned. Your offer also gives you the employer's background and details about your salary. In it, it explicitly states that you're not allowed to divulge this information to anyone. You agree.
However, you're also completely thrilled and perhaps a little trigger-happy. On a whim (while forgetting about the terms and conditions you signed), you post information that's confidential, including your terms of employment, on a social networking site. You're proud of this accomplishment and want to share it with everyone you know.
The social manager at your soon-to-be employer is always active and online. She stumbles on your post and reports it to the Human Resources Department before your first day even arrives. Your offer immediately gets revoked. In an instant, your dream opportunity is lost.
What's the lesson here? To keep yourself out of trouble, never divulge any confidential info concerning a job offer. Don't allow yourself to get overly excited about sharing information that shouldn't be in the public domain.
Beyond that, leave it to the business to announce news and updates. It's really not your place as a new hire to do it yourself. A mistake like this can even cause harm to any future chances you may have with different businesses. Word spreads quickly in the business world.
Avoid online plagiarism at all costs. It stands as one of the top forms of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn posts that can severely limit your potential of getting hired. In fact, the effects of posting plagiarism are nearly as bad as disclosing confidential company information.
Posting plagiarized material on social networking sites quickly reflects your overall lack of competence and integrity as a worker. If you want to post something from the web that you find worth sharing, all you need to do is give full credit to the original source and owner. If you skip this vital step, you'll quickly find yourself (and your company) in very hot water. Posting plagiarized material will lead to very expensive, reputation-killing lawsuits.
The vast majority of employers in this market consider a record of illegal drug use to be highly detrimental to the hiring potential of a prospect. Because of this (and many other reasons), it should go without saying that you should never post anything on a social networking site that shows the use of illegal drugs.
The occasional use of alcohol tells companies a bit of a different story. It's obviously not unheard of to see young job seekers out at a party that involves the consumption of liquor. But when you're applying for jobs, such as an elementary school teaching position, you should probably re-think sharing your drinking shenanigans for all the world to see.
Before posting your alcohol-laden celebration photos about the job interview you just landed, pause for a moment and ask yourself what your potential employer might think of the activity. Remember that everything you post has a lasting impact, and can easily ruin your career before it even begins.
Are you of the mindset that you're in total control of what's posted on social networking sites? Do you throw caution to the wind on whether a post is vulgar or decent? Well if you do, remember that posting nude (or even revealing) pictures on your social sites will reflect very poorly on you in the eyes of employers and recruiters.
Obviously, companies look for applicants that are confident and full of life. But if you're showing that confidence by posting unsavory photos of yourself of other individuals, you can take your resume and throw it into the fire. They just won't give you a second look.
What's worse, losing out on a potential job may not be the end of it. You could end up getting reported for engaging in unethical behavior because of your inappropriate posts.
It's always best to keep your feelings of job dissatisfaction to yourself. If your salary or job functions don't meet with the expectations that were presented to you, discuss it with your manager. When you post these types of rants or grievances online, it comes across as very unprofessional. You also put your employer in a bad spot.
Never assume that a complaint you make on Instagram or LinkedIn won't reach your manager. Even if you're not connected with them directly, word travels very fast.
When you show up for work the next day after making a post of this nature, prepare to open an email stating that your position has been eliminated. Most employers simply do not tolerate this type of online behavior.
In a situation where you feel absolutely compelled to share something about your job, make sure you do it in a way that doesn't compromise the employer. If you're not able to post in that way, it's a good idea to stay quiet and keep your professional life out of your social accounts altogether.
If you're constantly complaining about your employer and its customers on your social networking sites, don't expect to stay employed for very long. Posting negative thoughts about an employer and the customers it serves will put your employer in a very bad public light.
Beyond that, this type of badmouthing will negatively impact your future hiring potential. It can even cost you your entire career. Competing employers will avoid shortlisting you for future opportunities, and it may become difficult to find a job in general.
Assuming that you weren't put under pressure to accept the position you have, it's best to just do your job and stay quiet. If you need to leave your position, do it without saying anything negative, especially on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.
Always Take the High Road
Make no mistake about it. Posting inappropriate things online will have a negative impact on both yourself and your employer. Remember what your mother always used to say, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."