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Diversity Blog > Career Advice

Social Media May Hurt Job Searches

Social Media May Hurt Job Searches

Tik Tok, Youtube, Facebook and the like may be good fun during your leisure time, but may be held against you by potential employers

Most people figure that posting on Facebook photos of you doing silly things may just be good fun. Or perhaps you and friends create a slapstick video and post it on your Youtube channel. 

After all, you made your fun and creative productions for friends and family and other like-souls to enjoy. Or, more dramatically, you post a diatribe on Twitter voicing in unfiltered language what you really think — about anything.

Unfortunately, nowadays, most employers consider they are performing due diligence on you when they dive deeply into your social media feeds. They may be looking for red flags, or reasons not to hire you. 

As a professional networking and careers site, LinkedIn is an obvious resource for employers to check on. However, they are also likely to comb through your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts to see how you behave "off the clock". And if you're a Millennial, potential employers may want to check up on your Tik Tok account to see what you've been up to.  

And you may still be fired by a hiring company for tweets made years before. For example, in 2021, Teen Vogue staffers called out the new editor-in-chief, Alexi McCammond. Apparently, when she was a teenager, she had published anti-Asian tweets in 2011. The magazine fired her just days after she had been hired.

HR Due Diligence 

When a company is considering hiring you, will your feeds on social media platforms tell them that you’re a good cultural fit, or will they be an excuse for not hiring you? An otherwise excellent candidate may not receive a job offer because of inappropriate photos, evidence of drinking or drug use, poor communication skills, discriminatory comments, or negative comments about employers or colleagues.

When you’re posting or commenting on social media, you should avoid:


  • Complaining about your current or past job: Complaining, in general, does not paint you in a positive light. You want to show potential employers that you’re a positive person who doesn’t blame other people or situations. Make sure that your social media history doesn’t include complaints about your job, colleagues, or employer.
  • Posting about your job offer: If you received a job offer, don’t post it in a social media update. Doing so may mean you’re breaking confidentiality. If an employer thinks you can’t respect confidentiality, you may find your offer revoked. 
  • Using casual language: Correct grammar and sentence structure will be expected if you’re applying to professional roles. Make sure your social media posts don’t include typos or overly informal language.
  • Divisive comments: It can be tempting to weigh in on hot-button issues like politics and religion. Doing so can offend potential employers and cost you your job. Don’t post comments or jokes associated with any sensitive topics.
  • Posting inappropriate photos: Social media is no place for photos of your weekend parties if they involve alcohol or drugs. Employers may view these photos and think you’re irresponsible and will jeopardize their public image. 
  • Doing extraordinarily silly stuff. In September 2021, Tik Tok overtook Youtube for the average time spent per user, according to the BBC. So now there are several channels (Tik Tok, Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook) through which potential employers can comb to find videos they feel would not reflect well on the company. 


It doesn't matter that it's your time and your expression; companies will make any excuse NOT to hire someone who they deem does not "fit" in their corporate culture. (On the other hand, if you're a professional dancer and you bust some terrific moves on Tik Tok, that may work in your favor.)

When potential employers Google your name, you want to make sure they see you as a responsible individual. Sharing photos of your volunteer efforts and hobbies is a great way to show a more human side to your professional persona. You want viewers to see the same smiling and confident face on whichever social site they end up on. 

Using your social media accounts thoughtfully is a great way to give potential employers a fuller picture of you. It’s your chance to highlight accomplishments and interests that might not be on your resume. Your social media profiles are your opportunity to build your personal brand. Use it to help convince employers that you’re their candidate of choice.  


William R. Dodson is a contributing editor at His latest book is Virtually International: How Remote Teams Can Harness the Energy, Talent, and Insights of Diverse Cultures (Emerald Publishing Group, September 2021). You can contact him at