Turned Down for a Job? Check Your Facebook Profile

Social media is becoming an ingrained part of our lives — and our careers. With so much information available in the public domain about many of us, it is easy for almost anyone to do a quick search online and see what you’re up to. And, using that information, it’s fairly easy to form a judgment about you; no need to meet face to face.


For the most part, though, we think of social media sites (especially Facebook) as a way to interact with friends and relatives, and as places to share our thoughts, and images of us living the good life. We might even think of it as a way to sell ourselves to others when we’re networking and looking for jobs. Very rarely, though, as we post an off-hand status update or a picture of the fun we’re having, do we think about how it’s impacting our job prospects.

Hiring Managers are Looking at Social Media

The truth, though, is that hiring managers are looking at social media — especially Facebook — in an effort to determine whether or not they will hire you. According to an article from AOL Jobs, 40% of hiring managers use social media to make determinations about jobs. Of those 40%, of hiring managers, 1/3 of them say that they have rejected applicants on what they found:

Nearly a third of hiring managers who currently research candidates via social media said they have found problems that resulted in them rejecting the candidate.

For the past couple of years, we’ve been told that it’s important to use social media in the job search. Job hunting with the help of Facebook is even starting to be quite popular. But, as you reach out to your network to find out what’s available to you, and to look for employment, don’t forget that employers are probably looking for you on Facebook and on other social media.

Indeed, it’s worth going through your social media profiles. Do you look professional? Are you disparaging a former employer in your status updates? Have you been showing off your participation in illegal activities? According to the AOL article, some of the items that can lose you job include the following postings on Facebook and other social media:

  • Provocative photos and comments
  • Drinking and drug use
  • Evidence of poor communication skills
  • Bad-mouthing a former employer
  • Discriminatory comments expressed in a status update
  • Evidence that qualifications have been exaggerated or lied about

Of course, the flip side is that your social media profile can exhibit your professionalism, enthusiasm, solid qualifications, and generally positive outlook. Your social media profile can be a way to let potential employers that you would be a good hire — and not an Internet risk. But you have to be careful about what you post, and what you make public, if you don’t want your social media profile to be used against you as you search for a job.

Social Media Background Checks

It’s also worth noting that there are companies that do the heavy lifting for employers looking to hire. The way has been cleared for social media background checks offered by companies like Social Intelligence. These companies scour the web for information about in the social realm. Of course, the information is stuff that’s only publicly available — but you might be surprised at what is publicly available.

Facebook information that you haven’t made private, tweets, and other information is available. But it doesn’t stop there: Comments you’ve made on others’ blog posts might also be gathered. These companies compile reports that are supposed to remove information about your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, other characteristics that aren’t supposed to be used in hiring decisions. However, if a company doesn’t do a social media background check, and just Googles you, you don’t know what criteria is being used.

Of course, the existence of these types of social media background checks emphasizes that you do have to be careful about what you put out there. It would be nice to say that your personal life is private, and separate from what you do at work or in public. However, the Internet has blurred those lines. As long as your prospective employer isn’t asking for your Facebook login information, there isn’t much you can do to stop a hiring manager from Googling you, and checking what you’ve been up to.

Photo by English106.

About the Author

By , on May 17, 2013
Miranda is a freelance writer and professional blogger, specializing in financial topics. She has written for a number of financial web sites, and her work has been linked to by many publications, online and off. Miranda's blog is Planting Money Seeds.

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  1. Braden says:

    Oh wow! That’s a nice piece of information. If only the young generation will know about this, it would be great. And so duck faces and selfies will come to an end. Just kidding. But we can’t deny the truth that the younger generations are quite irresponsible using social media.

  2. You’re right on the mark. Privacy settings also do not do much at all; many companies pay for access to network servers.

  3. Christine says:

    So true! People really need to be careful and remember that one somethings is out there on the internets 😉 ….it’s out there for good! So many people use Facebook, etc as a venting board and that’s just not a good idea. Call your best friend and complain to her for an hour, keep it off social media!

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