11 social media posts that can hurt your career


Whether you’re looking for a job or already have one, things you’ve posted on social media can come back to haunt you.

A new national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, up from 60% last year and 11% in 2006.

Nearly the same percentage of employers (69%) use online search engines like Google to research candidates.

Read more: 10 jobs to consider if you’re looking for a career change

What hiring managers are looking for on social media

The survey sampled more than 2,300 private sector hiring managers and HR professionals. What exactly are they looking for online? Here’s what the survey revealed:

  • Information that supports candidate’s qualifications (61%)
  • Professional online persona (50%)
  • What other people are posting about the candidate (37%)
  • Reason not to hire a candidate (24%)

According to the survey, more than half of employers have found content on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms that led them to eliminate a job candidate from consideration.

Here are the top 11 reasons why employers chose not to hire a candidate based on social media:

  1. Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  2. Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs
  3. Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion
  4. Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
  5. Candidate lied about qualifications
  6. Candidate had poor communication skills
  7. Candidate was linked to criminal behavior
  8. Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers
  9. Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional
  10. Candidate lied about an absence
  11. Candidate posted too frequently

Think twice before deleting your accounts

Deleting posts that could get you into trouble is a good idea, but what about entire social media accounts? Not so fast. This survey revealed that 57% of employers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job applicant online.

4 ways social media can get you hired

Your social media presence can also work to your advantage during a job search. More than 40% of employers reported that they’ve found content on a social networking site that prompted them to hire a candidate. These job candidates shared background information on social media that supported their professional qualifications, demonstrated great communication skills, portrayed a professional image and showed creativity.

Always ponder before you post

Once you get your new job, you still need to think carefully before you post anything on social media. More than a third of employers surveyed (34%) said they’ve found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire employees.


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