Legal Articles

Surrency-380x360.jpgTo Post, or Not to PostBY CHANDLER SURRENCY | HOPKINS & HUEBNER, P.C. | DES MOINES OFFICE

If it’s not on Facebook, did it really happen?  We’ve all heard the joke that an experience isn’t real unless proof of it appears on social media.  With our phones constantly attached to us and our computers only an arm’s length away, we have endless opportunities to share our thoughts and opinions with the world.  But how does the ease with which we can share a photo on Instagram have an impact on jobs and other opportunities?  

A 2017 survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder1 showed that more than half of employers check current employees’ social media profiles, and over one-third have reprimanded or fired an employee for inappropriate content.  Of the employers surveyed, 70 percent use social media to screen job candidates before hiring, and 54 percent have decided not to hire a candidate based on a social media profile.  Of those who chose not to hire a candidate based on a social media profile, the most common reasons were that the candidate: posted provocative or inappropriate photos, videos, or information (39 percent); posted information about drinking or using drugs (38 percent); posted discriminatory comments about race, gender, or religion (32 percent); or bad-mouthed a previous employer or fellow employee (30 percent).  

On the other side of the coin, 44 percent of employers found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire a candidate.  The primary reasons employers hired a candidate based on a social media profile were that the candidate: posted background information that supported his or her professional qualifications (38 percent); had great communication skills (37 percent); portrayed a professional image; or demonstrated creativity (35 percent).

So what is the best way to avoid the pitfalls of social media when looking for a job or trying to keep the one you have?  Be careful about what you post, rather than deleting social media profiles entirely.  Most employers (57 percent) are less likely to call someone for an interview if the job candidate can’t be found online.  Once you have the job, remain careful about what you post on social media.  It is important to remember that information shared on social media is not private, no matter how tightly we adjust our privacy settings.  Just know that once something is shared with the Twitterverse, it is out there forever.