Employers Search Social Media for Job Applicants – Our Take

If you don’t think that employers will check you out online for most jobs, especially the white-collar variety, you’re kidding yourself. Don’t just take our word for it. Last year, reputation management firm Reppler (since acquired) surveyed 300 hiring professionals to get their take on how an individual’s online footprint impacts the hiring process. Here are the main takeaways, and what we at ThirdParent think it means for teens and young adults.

interview91% of employers use social media to screen prospective employees – Speaks for itself.

69% of employers had disqualified a candidate based on something on social media – Again, this speaks for itself.

Which social network do employers use in screening?

  • Facebook – 76%
  • Twitter – 53%
  • LinkedIn – 48%

Do we have your attention yet? Conventional wisdom purveyors would tell you that if employers are looking you up online, the most important thing you can do is to put together a professional LinkedIn profile. It turns out that having a good LinkedIn profile is less important than having a bad Facebook or Twitter profile.

At what point in the hiring process do employers check social media?

  1. Immediately after receiving the application – 47%
  2. After the first conversation – 27%
  3. After a detailed conversation with applicant – 15%
  4. When making an offer – 4%

First, if you get dinged at (1), not only will you not get an interview, you will never hear back from the company. You won’t know that your social media footprint is a problem. Our second observation is that if you assume that the employer is going to check you out online, you have no idea when they will check. Your online profile needs to be squeaky clean before you apply.

Reason for rejecting candidates based on social media

  • Lied about qualifications – 13%
  • Inappropriate photos – 11%
  • Inappropriate comments – 11%
  • Posted negative comments about previous employer – 11%
  • Poor communication skills – 11%
  • Drug-related posts – 10%
  • Posted discriminatory comments – 10%
  • Alcohol-related posts – 9%
  • Shared confidential work info – 7%

To steer clear of all the above reasons for not getting hired, it is much better to be safe than sorry when posting on social media. Yes, complaining online about your job today could impact your employment prospects down the road. In today’s political climate, it is very difficult to not hire someone based on Reason X, but if you never get a first interview, or a second, you’ll never know why you were rejected.

On a more positive note…

Reasons why a candidate’s social media profile made a positive impact in hiring

  • Positive impression of candidate’s personality – 39%
  • Personal profile supported professional qualifications – 36%
  • Profile showed creativity – 36%
  • Positive comment posted by others – 34%
  • Good communication skills – 33%
  • Profile showed candidate was well-rounded – 33%
  • Profile highlighted awards and accolades – 24%

We say this all the time, but don’t stop your online cleanup at just getting rid of the bad. Use social media to post the good stuff as well. There are countless ways you can post things online that make you look like the type of candidate employers want to hire, not just the type they want to avoid.

If you are embarking on a job search, or in the middle of one, check out ThirdParent’s options to make sure your online profile is working for you.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring child and teen internet activity.

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