Keep social media sites clean while you are job hunting – but what does this mean in practice?

At the moment firing and job offer refusals due to inappropriate social media sites is widely documented. In the US, it has been estimated that 8% of the workforce have been fired at one point due to inappropriate facebook, myspace and other social media accounts. When it comes to not securing a promotion and a job application being refused, the exact figures are near impossible to estimate as many employers will use another excuse for the refusal even though that is the case. This means of assessment may well be unethical and invasive but unfortunately, employees can do little to prevent it. As a HRM Consultant, I lobby against this screening process but it still prevails so if you can’t beat it – hide it! this in mind, what can you do to prevent this and protect yourself? Here are some tips I find useful:

  1. Do not admit to having any of these sites. It is none of an employers business. If you work in social media however, you can’t avoid this.
  2. Do not accept work colleagues to your social media accounts.
  3. Lock down all your sites so that only friends can see any of your activity and content.
  4. Don’t accept any friends that you do not know – this could be a false account used to view your details.
  5. Use a unique email account for your social media sites that is different to the one you use in your CV and work account.
  6. Change your Facebook name to something else, especially while your job searching – try your name in Irish, Spanish, Chinese! Be as creative as you like.
  7. Change your profile pic to something generic while you are job hunting so they cannot be sure it is you.
  8. Deactivate your accounts while you search – if you can survive without them!
  9. 9.    Delete and/or untag any photos of you looking “unprofessional” – ie – drunk, underdressed, breaking the law, foul language!

10. Beware of geo-tagging  – people don’t need to know where you are.

11. And finally, most importantly never ever talk about an employer, past or present, clients or any aspects of the employment relationship on any of these sites as that could lead to dismissal as it would be deemed gross misconduct depending on the circumstances.

I often see people complain about a customer, or that they are bored, doing no work, dossing, off sick but not unwell or looking for a new job on their social media accounts. This form of activity leaves you very exposed to disciplinary action if you are employed, or a prospective employer ignoring your application if you are job searching. It shows a level of immaturity and lack of integrity which employers frown upon.

Keep social media sites clean while you are job hunting – but what does this mean in practice?You have been warned – happy job hunting.

Written by Gillian Knight, MD of Kala Management Solutions We focus on helping people write a great CV and perform their best in interviews. If you would like to book a coaching session or help with your CV or cover letter mail or go to for more details.    Send article as PDF   

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