Is Facebook Killing Your Chances of Getting a Job?

If you don’t want a potential employer to see what you’re sharing online, you need to rethink the way you use the Internet. The vast majority (93%) of recruiters and HR professionals review candidates’ social media profiles before making a hiring decision, and the deal-breaking offenses might surprise you. Most important: Your social media presence is more likely to hurt you than help you get your dream job.

An annual report from Jobvite, a recruiting platform, surveys more than 1,800 recruiters and human resource workers about their hiring tendencies, focusing on the impact of social media on attracting and vetting talent. If there’s anything job seekers can learn from this year’s report, it’s that they should check their spelling in social media posts, and if they’re not on LinkedIn, it’s time to hop on that bandwagon.

More than half of recruiters have reconsidered their opinions of potential employees after reviewing their social media accounts, and 61% of the time, those second thoughts were negative.

What turns off employers the most? Posts that reference illegal drugs. Drinking isn’t as big of a deal — only 44% of recruiters said that gives a negative impression, and 43% said they’re neutral about boozy pictures — but the drug finding will put you on the wrong side of 83% of hiring professionals.

Another thing you should keep behind closed doors: sex. Sexual posts give off a negative impression to 70% of recruiters. You may have privacy settings in place, but your actions are your most reliable form of security. To recap, you should avoid posts with drugs and sex.

The third-worst offender is my personal favorite: poor grammar. Yes, your stray apostrophes and frequent misspellings can affect your future. Such mistakes are worse than profanity, in the eyes of the hiring manager (though, admittedly, not by much), so take the time to proofread your posts and correct them if necessary.

As far as which platforms matter most, LinkedIn is king. It’s understandably the go-to for finding talent, but 93% of HR people use LinkedIn during the vetting process. Facebook takes a distant second, with 32% using it as a pre-interview vetting tool, and 35% looking at your profile post-interview.

This trend isn’t going anywhere, because social media is a top priority for companies as they try to improve their hiring process. Maybe this concerns you. Perhaps you find it exciting. Regardless of your opinion on the role of social media in employment, you should know it can impact your career and, ultimately, your financial security.

Some employers may also ask you to submit to a credit check during the application process. Employers need to ask for your permission and they can only pull your credit report, not your credit scores. You may want to pull your credit reports before you start your job hunt so you can anticipate any problems an employer might see on your credit report and be proactive. You can get your credit reports for free once a year at You can track your credit on a more regular basis by checking your credit scores, which you can get for free every month on

More from ▪ How to Get Your Free Annual Credit ReportsWill an Employer Credit Check Hurt Your Credit?How to Fix Errors on Your Credit Reports

Christine DiGangi covers personal finance for Previously, she managed communications for the Society of Professional Journalists, served as a copy editor of The New York Times News Service and worked as a reporter for the Oregonian and the News & Record. More by Christine DiGangi