Social Media Mistakes that May Put Off Recruiters

Posted June 26, 2014 by
Computer keyboard with blue button for Social media

Computer keyboard with blue button for Social media. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

During the last few years, the scope of social media has expanded to include not only our personal but also professional lives. We tend to leave plenty of digital footprints all over the web, allowing for recruiters to see our full profile not just the part we present in our resumes. Learning more about a candidate through social media can sometimes have disastrous effects. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the little details that bother recruiters when checking a candidate’s suitability for the job through social media profiles.

The Obvious Risks

We’ve all heard about those obvious things that make recruiters cringe and throw out your resume: inappropriate language, bad-mouthing your current employer, photos of that crazy drunken night or, plainly, a healthy dose of spelling mistakes in your status updates.

All this can be simply managed by adjusting privacy settings, but they often don’t tell you that this in itself is a double-edged sword; hiding the embarrassing photos and posts will help to save your reputation but a blank profile is not a solution either. In fact, it might look even more suspicious, as if you were hiding something. One thing is certain – locking yourself out is not going to help you. Leaving the contact data from your LinkedIn profile will discourage people from connecting with you.

Some Less Obvious Risks

Then there are those things we don’t even think twice about when sharing or posting, but can have a really serious impact on our job-seeking mission and lower your chances of getting some lucrative offers.

Gloating Alert

You’ve just landed your second interview or an actual job offer and, obviously, you’d like to share the news with everyone. Before broadcasting it, you might want to think about the way to do it – Connor Riley certainly didn’t. She was offered a job at a major US tech company, Cisco, and subsequently tweeted: ‘Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute and hating the work.’ The tweet was allegedly picked up by some of her brand new colleagues, who responded accordingly. Even though the ‘CiscoFatty’ story has creatively evolved – originally, Riley claimed that it was an internship she declined precisely because of the issues she later stated in her tweet – it still serves a good pointer.

Lying – Not Gonna Work

We tend to treat our social media profiles in a slightly different manner than resumes – a fact that sometimes inspires people to twist the truth or plainly lie in their LinkedIn profiles. Take heed from Scott Thompson, who was hired at Yahoo as a chief executive, but served the role for just six months until it was discovered that he had lied about obtaining a degree in computer science and accounting. Keep things in order. A lack of consistency and differences in job titles between your resume and social media profiles will surely raise suspicions in recruiters screening you for a job.

Quality Instead of Quantity

You might think that dozens of LinkedIn recommendations will do you good, but they actually won’t. Recruiters have no time to sift through meaningless references given by people you worked with a long time ago. Quality is simply much more appreciated than quantity. Pick out up to five people who might have something substantial to say about your professional performance and keep your activity in LinkedIn groups in check. After all, it’s better to offer something valuable in a few of them, than trying to shine in all those fifty groups.

Kelly Smith is a dedicated tutor and writer. Currently, she develops her passion at Career FAQs, one of the leading providers of career and educational resources in Australia, where she provides career advice for students and job seekers.

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