Your Social Media Rants And Racy Pics Are Costing You Job Opportunities

If you’re looking for a new job, you may want to pull down those racy pics or angry rants at your ex-boss from your Facebook page.

Hiring managers are increasingly looking at applicants’ social media profiles in the hiring process, and of those who do, more than half ― 52 per cent ― have said something they found online caused them not to hire a candidate, according to a new survey of 500 Canadian hiring decision-makers.

Seven in 10 hiring managers are now scouring the web to look into the people applying, according to the survey, carried out by The Harris Poll for human resources firm Express Employment Professionals.

“Something as simple as typos in social media posts could cost you an interview,” said Bruce Hein, an Express franchise owner in Sarnia, Ont. 

Watch: How to cope with the loss of a job. Story continues below.


Just don’t shut down or hide your social media presence ahead of a job search; that could backfire in some cases. The survey found a quarter of hiring managers won’t consider someone without a social media presence.

But you should remove any pictures of excessive alcohol drinking or drug-taking, Express Employment recommends.

“Remove any comments or posts in which a job seeker is complaining, ranting, swearing, bullying or otherwise communicating in a harsh manner towards others,” the company said in a report. Those types of comments make a job candidate look like they can’t handle pressure. 

Also, “delete those racy and saucy pictures from Cancun. If you wouldn’t want grandma to see it, then take it down.”


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That’s especially important if you’re looking for work where you would be acting as the face of your company, either with customers or suppliers, Hein said in an interview with HuffPost Canada.

“We have to be cognizant of what we’re putting out there for everybody to see and hear,” he said.

These days, it’s also important to be aware of the impact of any political messages you may be sending online, said Brent Pollington, an Express franchise owner in Vancouver. Employers may be sensitive to online comments that could be seen as discriminatory against particular groups.

“Someone who’s got a MAGA hat on in a photo, some employers may be all over that person and want to hire them, and others may not want anything to do with them and the candidate wouldn’t even know it,” Pollington said.

‘You’ve got choices to make’

As an HR consultant, Pollington says he has seen “an employee terminated without cause … as a result of some less than favourable decisions they made on social media. They were in a position that was significant enough to have an impact on their customer base. The business had to make a critical decision.”

The more prominent or senior the position, the likelier it is that social media presence will matter in the hiring process, Pollington told HuffPost Canada.

Ask yourself what you want employers to see, he suggested.

“You’ve got choices to make. You have the opportunity to go through your social media and make sure your social media aligns with the company where you’re applying.”

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