The Darker Side of Social Media: Effects on Employability


Social media is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more of a problem. When you created your Facebook account, chances are you didn’t think and possibly still haven’t thought about what you should and shouldn’t post over your teen and Uni years. Most employers or prospective employers don’t really want to find photographical evidence of you face down, half naked, outside Jesters with someone farting on your face.

As post-university employment nears, it’s time to start thinking about the future. It turns out that a third of employers prefer candidates to include their social media details in their CVs (survey by uCheck). They’re going to look at your social media anyway, so why not make it easier for them? But before you include these details, you might want to consider giving your social media accounts a cleanse.

A survey by uCheck found that:

•        33.5% of employers would like candidates to include their social media details in their CVs

•        44% of employers say that discriminatory comments found on prospective employee/ current employee’s social media account(s) would be the biggest off- put.

•        77% of  candidates are snooping on their potential employers too!

These days, it’s just not enough to have a CV which shows off your academic qualifications or skills. While a CV is a showcase for your previous experience and a chance for you to demonstrate what hobbies and interests make you a better and more rounded person than the other candidates, some employers believe it’s not going to tell them the whole story. As online DBS check provider uCheck found, when they asked 1,000 employers, it emerged that just over a third of them (33.5%) preferred applicants to include their social media details on their CV. Social media is often an integral part of a student’s life, but bear in mind that even with strict privacy settings, an onlooker can be filled in on your life story in minutes.

So perhaps it might pay to take a little look at those platforms to see if there’s anything on them that may put potential employers off and lower your chances of getting the job. The survey found that the biggest red flag for employers would be discriminatory comments. A staggering 44% of employers would avoid hiring someone whose social media contained anything which could be interpreted as racist, sexist, or similar.

A cruel, discriminatory tweet. Credit:
A cruel, racist tweet – what will employers think of that? Credit:

The second most inflammatory behaviour on social media for employers, was seen as bad-mouthing a friend or colleague – 14.7% of potential employers would find that unacceptable. After all, if you’ve shown you don’t care about doing it publicly online before, you might do it about the people you could be working with should you get the job.

In third place, which some might find surprising is not higher, is the posting of provocative or inappropriate photos or videos. So that means all those pictures of you off your face at Glasto or near naked at a sports social should probably be taken down, or at least hidden from public view.

Employers also aren’t keen on poor spelling or grammar, with 10.9% of potential employers frowning on those who can’t distinguish between ‘to’ and ‘too’ – if you can’t be consistent on Instagram or Twitter, you’re unlikely to be consistent at work.

Credit: facebookcraze
Credit: facebookcraze

Also, it emerged that evidence of overly drunken behaviour found on your accounts would alarm 9.9% of employers. So perhaps it’s time to take down those ‘merry’ pictures of you on a crazy stag or hen do. Finally, 6.9% of employers felt bad language on your social media was a bad sign, so even if you’re totally annoyed at the world and have had an awful day, try to refrain from using certain words in a Facebook status when you go off on one.

However, this snooping around on social media works both ways. Candidates are just as likely, if not more so, to look up their future employer and colleagues online to find out more about them – 77% of candidates surveyed said they definitely would! So employers should make sure their own social media posts reflect how they’d like to be seen… ‘Social media can be a bit of a social minefield,’ says George Griffiths from uCheck, Nowadays so much about us is available to be viewed, which we often forget as we assume that it’s just our friends or family who will be following our every social media move. But as we’ve discovered there’s a lot that can put people off, which is why we’ve come up with some tips for making your social media employer friendly!’
uCheck have provided a handy infographic on six tips to make your social media presence employer friendly.


Finally, this is not an article advocating that you shouldn’t post anything on social media. Look at this article as providing really useful tips on how to manage something which could come back to haunt you later.

More articles in The Darker Side of Social Media
  1. The Darker Side of Social Media: Blue Whale
  2. The Darker Sides of Social Media: SnapMaps
  3. The Darker Side of Social Media: Snapchat’s Race Problem
  4. The Darker Side of Social Media: The Lighter Side of Life
  5. The Darker Side of Social Media: Effects on Employability
  6. The Darker Side of Social Media: Cyberbullying
  7. Darker Side of Social Media: Internet Stalking
  8. The Darker Side of Social Media: Helping the Less Fortunate for Likes?
  9. The Dark Side of Social Media: Getting Real About Mental Health

Law student at the University of Southampton.

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