How to avoid slipping up on social media

How to avoid slipping up on social media

Don’t let photos of your drunken exploits get in the way of landing your dream job. You’d be surprised how much recruiters can find out about you online

By Sophie Cole

Let’s be honest: we’ve probably all done a few things that we’d rather forget. But in this age of social media, evidence may well be lurking somewhere on the internet in the form of incriminating photos or posts from the past.

    ...employers are increasingly making social media checks a standard part of candidate selection.  

In most cases, these souvenirs of our weaker moments won’t be too problematic. Perhaps they’re bleary-eyed snaps after a sweaty night out or throwbacks to the awkward haircuts of our teenage years. We may wish these cringey moments could be forgotten forever, but they’re harmless enough.

But for some people, their social media outpourings are harder to forgive. Maybe they’re ignorant comments about race or gender posted in the hubris of youth. Perhaps they’re boasts about a lifestyle that we’d sooner disown.

Whatever the weakness, by broadcasting it on social media, it has been put in the public domain. And there it stays, just waiting to be discovered.

According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employers are increasingly making social media checks a standard part of candidate selection.

A massive 84 per cent of recruiters include social media as part of their recruiting process. 43 per cent screen potential candidates through search engines and social media before offering them an interview. And more than a third disqualify candidates if they don’t like what they find.

Many people have fallen foul of this scrutiny. For example, beauty vlogger Laura Lee came under fire last August for racist and fat-shaming tweets she posted in the past. As a result, she lost half a million subscribers and saw some of her collaborations with brands pulled from sale.

How to avoid slipping up on social mediaMeanwhile, notorious Floridian security guard, Doug aka Paul Flart, lost his job after posting bizarre videos of himself breaking wind while at work.

Finally, a UC Berkley graduate named Connor Riley reportedly blew her chances of a prestigious job at tech firm Cisco after tweeting "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." Shortly after, someone who claimed to work for the company replied, “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.” Riley was left red-faced – though, on the plus side, she probably doesn’t have to worry about compromising her ideals for a fat salary, after all.

So, the question for would-be employees is: how can you avoid slipping up on social media? Emma Kershaw, director of Just Recruitment Group Ltd, says it’s all a question of being social media savvy.

“It’s always wise to scan your social media before beginning any job hunt,” Emma says. “Make sure you go back to the earliest possible posts and remove any silly, childish or just plain offensive comments, pictures or content from your pages. Recruiters don’t want to see pictures of you with three bottles of wine inside you. Similarly, what you found funny at 13 probably isn’t so amusing now, so make sure you’re thorough with your social media checks. Even if an offensive or insensitive comment was made years ago, it can still count against you in the eyes of a potential employer.”

With so many ways to slip up, it might seem easier just to delete all of your online profiles. But Emma says that having no social media presence can set alarm bells ringing too.

    “It’s always wise to scan your social media before beginning any job hunt,”...  

“If you don’t exist in the online world, this can be a red flag to recruiters. It can seem as though you either have something to hide or aren’t particularly tech-savvy, neither of which is the best impression to make on a potential employer.”

Emma advises creating a LinkedIn profile or Twitter account to show employers more about yourself beyond the confines of your CV. She also says it’s all right to keep some things private online.

“A professional, well-managed twitter account and LinkedIn profile will let employers learn a bit more about you, but it’s perfectly acceptable to keep your personal social media protected. In fact, it’s good to keep your work and private life separate.”

Finally, it’s always wise to keep your thoughts about your job off social media. Even if you’ve had the day from hell, resist ranting about it online.

“Posting negative comments about your current or past employer is a huge no-no,” says Emma. “It can make you seem as though you aren’t committed to your job, leading a recruiter to think you’ll bring the same bad attitude into their company.”

© 2020 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Published: 19 March 2020

Click on our Top Tips Guide link if you are actively seeking for a new job.

If you liked this article you may like to read: Five habits of great employees

Jobs currently available

New job
Graphic Designer
Sector: Marketing, Advertising and PR
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910168
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Graphic Designer on behalf of a company based in Colchester, Essex.

They are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled Graphic Designer to join their team.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Duties will include:

  • Designing and producing marketing material for nine businesses across the UK
  • Each business has their own distinct brand identity, so you must be willing to adapt as the situation demands
  • Manage the production of their 300 page brochure
  • Design other promotional material; for example posters and flyers; for use in their sites
  • Liaising with 3rd parties to design and produce physical promotional materials
  • Negotiating prices
  • Experience with website design is preferable
  • Experience with running business social media accounts also preferable

Experience in a similar role or relevant qualification is a must for this opportunity

  • Relevant extensive experience in design programs - for example, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver - is required
Read more
New job
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: discussed on application
Location: Chelmsford, South Woodham Ferrers
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910167
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Designer on behalf of a company based near South Woodham Ferrers.

This is a fantastic opportunity if you have a Product Design background and can offer Retail or POS Design experience.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Create new products, including 3D designs, prototyping and testing
  • Execute robust design process and continuous improvement
  • Take client brief either from Account Manager or Client
  • Time management and planning workload with Head of Design
  • A ‘can do’ attitude


  • Excellent level of knowledge using SolidWorks
  • Good level of knowledge using Adobe Suite
  • Experience with the POS sector would be advantageous
  • Product Design degree would be preferred
  • Good problems solving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Good Word & Excel skills
Read more
New job
Sector: Public Service and Administration
Salary: £16,500 - £17,000 per annum
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910164
About the role

Just Recruitment is working with one of Suffolk’s most promising mortgage companies. Established in 2014, this company is looking to take on a skilled Administrator to support its rapid expansion.

Your duties will include:

  • Supporting the mortgage brokers in their day-to-day activities
  • Electronic Filing and record-keeping
  • Checking and submitting mortgage applications
  • Progressing cases
  • Speaking to members of the public, both in-person and over the phone

Ideally, you will:

  • Have experience in an administrative role
  • Possess an excellent telephone manner
  • Be diligent and detail-oriented
  • Be highly computer literate, including familiarity with Microsoft Packages
  • Have a great sense of humour

Working hours:

35 per week – Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm, with an hour off for lunch

Read more
New job
Warehouse Operator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: To be discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910163
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Warehouse Operative on behalf of a company based in Sudbury Suffolk.

Your daily duties will include:

  • Ensuring that the warehouse is kept tidy and organised
  • Unloading and checking of deliveries in
  • Checking in goods
  • Putting away products within the warehouse
  • Picking products as per customer orders
  • Checking orders, ensuring accuracy
  • Packing orders to ensure safety in delivery
  • Loading deliveries
  • On occasions take responsibility for the locking up procedure for the Warehouse/Site

Working hours:

Split shifts: 6.00am – 2.30pm / 2.00pm – 10.30pm

You will have the following skills and experience:

  • Suitable applicants will ideally have current Forklift licences for Counterbalance, Pallet Truck and Flexi
  • Good level of Numeracy and Literacy
  • Intermediate PC skills
  • Preferred NVQ Level 2 Warehousing or equivalent
  • Prior knowledge of Warehouse Management Systems
Read more
Equity Release Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910156
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Equity Release Advisor to join an established company based in Needham Market.

Operating for over 20 years, our client has a great reputation in the local area. They are looking to take on someone with a real hunger to succeed within the industry.

  • A CeMAP / Equity Release qualification
  • Experience within mortgage broking or Equity Release
  • Great communication skills
  • A detail-oriented nature
  • Experience of dealing with clients, both in-person and over the phone
  • Strong market awareness
  • Great knowledge of Microsoft packages and be generally computer literate

In return, you will receive a competitive base salary plus commission.

Please get in touch if you would like to be considered for this exciting new opportunity.

Read more