Social Media Killers and Helpers

It’s in the palm of our hand and it’s the first place we go to get information: the Google Bar, Twitter, Facebook, and the news sites we have bookmarked. It’s so easy; we get the info we want in under a second. So, when you send your resume to a company, what’s to prevent them from doing the same? Nothing.


According to 2,300 employers in a 2017 study by CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates. Whether you agree or disagree with this practice it is happening, and more than half of all employers found something online that caused them not to hire a candidate. Your candidacy could be over before it begins.


Social media will work either for you or against you. And, no, you shouldn’t remove yourself from social media completely because that is a turn off to over 50% of employers. Here is a binary guide of social media rules that will hurt you and help you.


Social Media Candidacy Killers

  • Use of profanity or discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion
  • Posting provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • Posting photos or info showing you drinking or using drugs
  • Bad-mouthing your current or previous employer co-worker
  • Demonstrating poor communication skills
  • Revealing you committed a crime
  • Revealing that you lie about your qualifications
  • Sharing confidential information from a previous employer
  • Using an inappropriate or unprofessional screen name
  • Posting that you lied about a sick day or absence
  • Posting too frequently, especially when you should have been working


Social Media Candidacy Helpers

  • Positive and optimistic messages
  • Creating or sharing commercial insight or thought leadership related to your profession
  • Posting and blogging about relevant subject matter in your profession
  • Complimentary information posted by other people
  • Clean family-appropriate content, language, pictures, etc.
  • Monitoring responses and posts by followers – removing controversial posts can cast a shadow on you
  • Creating or participating in online networks with other top-performing professionals
  • Show support worthy causes
  • Ensure that your social media presence is an extension of your professional presence – not a separate life or personality
  • Enough posts to show that you engage but you keep your time spent on social media in balance


While just one of the “killers” can get you rejected, the “helpers” can get you hired. Over 40% of employers found social media content that caused them to hire the candidate. Employers hired candidates because the information they found online supported their professional qualifications, demonstrated great communication skills, had a professional image, or demonstrated creativity.

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.

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