Are Employers Judging Social Media Behavior The Wrong Way?

In recent years we have been repeatedly warned to be careful about what we post on our social media sites. Photos, comments, and posts should be without inappropriate language, alcohol and drug use, or any other activity that your grandmother wouldn’t approve of. These warnings come from the idea that potential employers could one day see these inappropriate posts and reject you from your dream job forever hindering the rest of your life. This somewhat dramatic view of social media use may in fact reflect the behavior of companies using Facebook and Twitter as screening devices for applicants. However, there is an actual scientific study that suggests employers may be judging too harshly and missing out on great employees.

This scientific study suggest that those that behave in some of these inappropriate ways on social media may actually possess characteristics that would make them a productive employee. The study examines specific personality traits shown in social media activity. These traits include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. Basically, this study suggests that those who post pictures or comments on social media involving drinking may possess characteristics that would make them excellent employees.

According to Careerbuilder 45% of companies screen applicants on social media and according to Forbes 70% of recruiters said they have rejected applicants based on their social media behavior. It’s highly likely that these companies and employers that screen applicants through social media are not going to soon change their habits. While the study offers up some interesting evidence it’s probably still a good idea to avoid inappropriate posts. Until more studies and statistics showing employers are less judgmental are published I’d rather be safe than sorry.


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