In 2021, job applicants have the upper hand. With widespread worker shortages impacting businesses of all types, candidates possess more power than ever before.
However, that doesn’t mean organizations will take whatever they can get. Business owners still need to make smart decisions about who they hire. And at a time when “cancel culture” runs rampant, a staffing mistake can easily come back to haunt you.
Today’s business owners leave no stone unturned during the application process. Your résumé and cover letter are just the beginning. You’ll also be subject to all kinds of screenings – including those that involve your social media activity.
That doesn’t mean you should go completely off the grid. In fact, having a social media presence can work in your favour. But it does mean you’ll want to be careful about your behaviour online. Here are just a few social media “don’ts” you’ll want to avoid if you’re actively seeking a new job.
Making Offensive or Inappropriate Posts
This should be common sense, but you can’t assume that’s something everyone has.
Long gone are the days when you could post anything you want online without consequences. And while you might think your friends and family members are the only ones who care about your updates, prospective employers frequently check for potentially inappropriate social media posts on a regular basis.
In fact, posts that are considered discriminatory, criminal, or inappropriate are typically the biggest red flag for hiring managers. CareerBuilder found in 2018 that of job seekers who lost out on professional opportunities, 40% had posted social media content that was deemed inappropriate or provocative. Around 31% of candidates who were passed over during the social media screening process had made discriminatory comments pertaining to gender, religion, or race.
A good rule of thumb is to always think before you post. Ask yourself, “could this offend someone else?” If you even hesitate in your answer, you should keep the thought to yourself.
Ranting About Bosses or Coworkers
No one wants to hire a difficult employee. And whether you like it or not, complaining about your previous positions or colleagues will come back to bite you.
Even if your gripes are completely justified, it’s never wise to air your dirty laundry on social media. Although most people know better than to publicly bellyache about their boss online, you’ll never know who might screenshot your posts to use against you.
More than likely, you might be looking for solidarity or sympathy. If so, confide in a close friend or family member you can trust instead of updating your Facebook status.
Removing identifying information will protect you only so much. It can be incredibly frustrating to be stuck in a bad work situation and have to stay silent. But if you can manage it, you could protect yourself later on.
Forgetting About Privacy Settings
Some people assume that they can speak freely on social media if they take care to lock down their accounts. While that’s true to a certain degree, it’s possible that someone in your circle could betray you – or that you don’t know as much about security settings as you think.
Recent data show that almost half of all social media users above the age of 60 either don’t use privacy settings or don’t feel confident that they’ve selected the right ones.
You don’t have to be a senior citizen to get it wrong, either. Security settings aren’t always located in the same place and can change over time. If you fail to keep up with the evolution of your favourite apps, you could end up exposing private information without knowing it.
On Social Media, Err on the Side of Caution
Social media can be an incredible tool. For many people, it may actually connect them with their future employers! But if you’re not careful, you could end your job search before it really starts due to bad social media habits. Be sure to avoid these mistakes for a more fruitful experience. Happy hunting!