5 Social Media Personas You Need to Avoid to Land A Job

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: your social media presence can impact your job search. Well, according to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, it’s true.

In fact, results from the survey of 1,855 recruiting and HR professionals across different industries suggest that it may have more of an impact than you think.

More than 90 percent of respondents said they look at a candidate’s social media profiles before making a hiring decision, but that’s not all. When asked, one in five admitted to reconsidering a candidate based on their online activity, and 61 percent said those reconsiderations were negative.

Clearly, it’s important for job seekers to be vigilant about how they represent themselves online. Here are five “red-flag” social media personas that all job seekers should steer clear of, or risk keeping hiring managers at arm’s length:

1. Bad-Mouth Barry

Bad-Mouth Barry is a great candidate. He has the skills, the experience and the personality, but he can’t stop saying bad things about his previous employers on Facebook and Twitter.

Interestingly enough, he can’t figure out why he’s having a hard time finding a new job. What Bad-Mouth Barry doesn’t realize is that, according to a 2015 survey, bad-mouthing a former employer or co-worker is ranked in the top three worst things a candidate can post about on social media.

If your social media profiles make you look like Bad-Mouth Barry, delete any content about your previous employers ASAP and be careful to keep things positive in the future.

2. No-Show Nina

No-Show Nina figures if you’re not on social media, you can’t make mistakes that hiring managers will reconsider you for, right?

This social media avoidance strategy seems sound, but it’s not as foolproof as No-Show Nina thinks. Consider this: Would you take an interview at an organization that had no online presence? Probably not.

Just like you rely on an organization’s online presence to tell you more about the company, recruiters rely on your social media presence to gain insight into who you are. In fact, 35 percent of respondents in the survey say they are actually less likely to interview a candidate who has no online presence.

Instead of choosing the nuclear option, take time to think about everything you put online and make sure it reflects the professional image you want hiring managers to see.

3. Private Peter

Like No-Show Nina, Private Peter is wary of the impact social media can have on his job search. So, he’s made all of his profiles private and denies requests from hiring managers who want to be friends.

What he doesn’t realize is he’s also keeping them from finding out what makes him the right candidate for the job. Making your profiles and the things you post private is a good way to control who sees your online content, but it also means people can’t see how knowledgeable or professional you are.

When a hiring manager sends a friend request or wants to follow you, take it as a sign they are interested. Denying their requests makes you look like you have something to hide, or worse, that you’re not interested in their opportunities.

4. Inappropriate Irene

Inappropriate Irene is the easiest red-flag social media persona to spot. Irene doesn’t care who is looking at her profile and has no issue with posting racy photos, drug and alcohol-related content, or expletive-laced comments on her profiles or others’.

If this sounds like your social media persona, you’ve got a tough job search ahead of you.

While it may take a long time, do your best to go through your profiles and remove any offensive content that a hiring manager may find, and restrict your permissions on those posts to “friends only.”

5. Lying Larry

Lying Larry is another commonly-rejected job seeker. He not only exaggerates his accomplishments, but also actively lies about them to attract recruiters and hiring managers. When hiring managers try to confirm his qualifications online or determine if he’s really as professional as he seemed in an interview, they find out he’s quite the opposite.

When you are searching for a job, your social media persona should reflect who you are as a person and as a professional, and Lying Larry’s does not.

Make sure your social media presence isn’t negatively impacting your job search by taking some time to review your social media profiles to ensure you don’t fit into any of these “red-flag” social media personas.

What does your social media persona say about you? How do you make sure it attracts hiring managers instead of dissuade them?

Lior Tal is the co-founder and CEO of Rep’nUp, a platform that helps you instantly analyze and clean up your social media profiles and easily manage your personal online reputation. Connect with Lior and the Rep’nUp team on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.