We have drawn attention to this on multiple occasions now however it is one message this is still struggling to sink in. What you do, what you post and how you conduct yourself online can have dramatic consequences for your career path. With all the social media profiles and tools now available for people to connect you are also creating a digital footprint wherever you go and employers are checking social media profiles more now than what they ever have before.

Your profile is now your first impression, when you go for a job interview it is no longer a case of “will they check my profiles online?” The pendulum is now swinging to, “what will they think when they check my profiles online?”

A new YouGov online poll commissioned by CWJobs has revealed that employers will often take candidates online presence into consideration when they are deciding who to hire. This could mean that excessive swearing on Twitter, or that drunken Facebook photo could potentially cost you a job offer.

The poll asked 638 business decision makers if they researched candidates online and whether that research affected their hiring decisions. Only 19% of respondents said that they don’t look up potential employees online.

57% said that they Google a candidates name to see what comes up in search and the same 57% said that they would check a jobseekers CV against networks such as LinkedIn to ensure the information provided was correct. Other methods of research included:

  • Looking at an applicants social profiles (43%)
  • Looking specifically for images (28%)
  • Searching for blog and forum comments (26%)

A massive 17% said that physical appearance in profile photos could also negatively affect the hiring decision which indicates that how you look on social media matters to a high portion of employers.

When asked what might negatively affect a candidates chances of employment when conducting online research the top answers included:

  • Offensive language (67%)
  • Aggressive tone (63%)
  • Images showing drunkenness, rudeness or illegal activity (53%)
  • Poor subject/industry knowledge shown in posts/comments (51%)
  • Over promotion of themselves (41%)

Some employers provided comments and stories such as;

“We searched a candidate and saw their profile picture was a phallic object”

“Evidence of Facebook pictures of a candidate in sexually provocative poses were not helpful to their application”

“One candidate smoked a joint in his profile”

The numbers are clearly rising, more employers are checking your social media profiles now than ever before so it is crucial that you conduct yourself in an appropriate manner if you don’t want it to negatively affect opportunities down the line which may come your way.

You can hit that delete button all you want but there is no guarantee that what you delete is gone and can’t be recovered. I say it to people time and time again but think before you post, think about how you conduct yourself online because how you portray yourself can make all the difference.

You can read the full CWJobs report here.

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