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3 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for a New Job

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

So, you've just finished your second interview for your dream job. It's everything you ever imagined: a swanky downtown office, a cool boss, and a hefty salary. You aced the interview and your future boss tells you that HR will be contacting you in a few days to discuss next steps.

When you get the call from HR, you're so excited you're about to explode. Then, the unthinkable happens. The representative in an unassailable tone says, "Sorry to inform you, but we've chosen another candidate." What just happened? It's likely you didn't pass the social media background check.

working women taking on phone in stress

What is a social media background check?

Increasingly, employers are not just screening applicants' social media profiles, but they're doing a deep dive into an applicant's digital history. This process is called a social media background check. Some employers even go as far as to examine a candidate's comments on blogs and social media posts.

Employers argue that these checks give them a clear sense of an applicant's behavior. Also, employers use these checks to confirm details on a potential hire's employment history.

So, if you ranted on social media about getting fired from your last job, but told the employer you were downsized, beware. Don't fret, the following three tactics will help you minimize social media employer backlash.


Never post anything negative about previous or current companies, bosses, co-workers, company partners, or affiliates.

First, you don't want to give an employer the impression that you're a rabble-rouser.

Second, you open an employer up for lawsuits if your posts are considered slanderous.

Third, the potential co-worker reading your post is thinking "Good grief. If we hire this person, next it'll be me getting blasted on social media. "


You are recognized and sometimes judged by the company you keep-even on social media. So, that friend who posts dirty jokes on your page. They've gotta go!

The relative who tagged you in an Instagram photo of herself as she flashed the mailman. Blocked! Oh, and that poker buddy who asked you to bail him out of jail via your Facebook Page. He's out!

I know this might seem heartless, but consider removing anyone who posts seemingly offensive content on your social media footprint. The last thing you want is for an employer to think that you're a part of an unsavory crowd.

You don't EVER want to come across as a potential liability to a company. And nothing says liability like being associated with a bunch of usual suspects.


This is tricky because Google sometimes indexes images. So, even after you've deleted that photo of you in a bar fight, it might still show up if a person Googles you, which many employers do. However, unless you have a high number of followers, a simple delete should work.

Consider this. You can't read the mind of an employer, but "damaging" to an employer could be that photo you posted of yourself drinking Vodka out of the bottle at your brother's bachelor party. Yeah... Yeah... Yeah... I know. You were just goofing off until the real fun started.

Plus, it was Saturday, so you had plenty of time to sober up before work on Monday. However, the photo could be easily misinterpreted - especially if there are scantily clad dancers in the background. To be on the safe side, delete all photos you wouldn't be proud for Grandma to see. This way, she can see you in your brand new job. She'll be proud....of course!

Always be careful before you post to any of your social media that you are not posting anything that will cost you your dream job. Remember, some employers check out your social media posts before they call you in for an interview. You might never know of the interviews that could have been yours had you scrubbed your social media pages.

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