Social Media and The Hiring Process recently did a study to understand what’s really going on inside offices across the country regarding discrimination, the hiring process and in-office gossip. They surveyed 204 people with hiring responsibilities and 805 employees about the hiring process, layoffs, co-worker gossip, and workplace discussions to find out.

Their results are very relevant to Project B3’s  audience- whether it be the parents that read our blog, the teens that will be joining the workforce soon or the preteens that are over-sharing every moment of their lives online. Although employers are not supposed to discriminate in any way, there is nothing stopping them from looking up a name on social media to get a fuller picture of who a candidate may be. It turns out, what they find on social media may be swaying their decision process on new hires.

These are the results of their study:
More than two-thirds of hiring managers said they combed a potential employee’s social media before making a final decision. Facebook was the most frequently consulted site (91%), followed by Instagram (62%) and a near tie between Twitter and LinkedIn (56% and 55%, respectively).

The Airtasker study also found that if someone at the company were to find an opinion they didn’t agree with on your profile, it could have game-changing ramifications:
51% of hiring managers who leaned left and another 57% who leaned right said they would not hire a qualified candidate if they expressed a strong online opinion about a controversial political issue.

Social Media Today says, “As many people have found (or suspected), your social media profiles – which, for younger users in particular, host a database of their entire life – can also be used against you by hiring managers and people assessing your suitability for certain roles and positions. And while there are laws in place to protect users against outright discrimination, there’s not really any way to stop someone looking up your online history, and seeing everything you’ve posted – outside of upping your privacy settings in an attempt to go full incognito. But even if you do ‘go dark’, some information is bound to still exist. That, in part, is why we’ve seen such a big shift towards private messaging and groups, to avoid the virtual data trail left behind, which can come back to bite us at a later stage. The safest approach – if you’re not sure, don’t post it. But that’s also easier said than done in some cases.”

Project B3 talks about this all the time when we visit sites in the community. We need to think about our digital footprint. What we post online becomes a reflection of who we are, especially to strangers. Posts can be taken out of context, photos can be misinterpreted, and what is “cool” now, probably won’t be cool in 5 years, but we will still find it on your Instagram account…and so will future employers.