Beware the ubiquity of social media investigations!

New Year Resolutions!
Networking to a job, properly

How would you fair under a social media investigation?

This is a guest post by David Hunt, written from his experience job seeking.  

Job seekers beware, even non-HR People will vet you on social media!

I recently had a chat with an old high school friend, who now runs a successful oral surgery practice, and he asked how my job search was going.  After mentioning my part-time contract as a step forward, I spun off a one sentence comment about my blog, The Perils of Social Media.

He pounced.

He warned me of the dangers of having a social media presence and how that might affect my job search, particularly if I am deliberately out there like I am on my blog.

And here’s the kicker, my friend was never interested in computers in high school and  I suspect he’s still not a tech geek.  Yet even he uses social media to vet candidates.

He never ceases to be amazed by just how much inappropriate material he finds including racy pictures, smoking pot, alcohol-induced posing, and so media investigations

He sends those CVs to the circular file.


Recently I was looking at a LinkedIn profile when I noticed the profile picture of another in the ‘People Also Viewed’ box. She was a young woman, a Liaison-something-or-other, I don’t recall her title exactly, but I do recall that her exposed skin and cleavage made me question just what kind of liaisons she was involved in!

Even though the profile text revealed nothing untoward, the picture itself was so risqué I brought it to the attention of the editor of 40pluscareerguru, Neil Patrick. He replied,


Many younger people think that whatever’s good for Facebook is good for LinkedIn; they don’t grasp the distinction.  Nor do they grasp that social media investigations sweep up – and deliberately include – what is ostensibly “personal”… because it’s put there of a person’s own volition and thus is taken as a reflection of character.


So despite innumerable articles about hiring managers and HR checking people out, some people just don’t hear the message.  Two natural questions then come out:

  • Why are some people not grasping this message?
  • What can be done to make them understand this critical role of social media/internet investigation in the job search?

And to point to the other half of the equation, addressing those doing the searching:

  • How do we get them to understand that there needs to be some tolerance and “cutting of slack”, especially for younger people who have grown up immersed in this let’s-show-everything-we-do-to-the-world environment?


Relevant to this last question is this quote from my first article on this topic:

Hiring managers and human resources people search the internet for indications about a candidate’s personality, character, and human failings – and then are shocked and horrified to discover candidates have personalities, characters, and human failings.


David Hunt social media investigationDavid Hunt, PE, is a senior-level Mechanical Engineer seeking a new opportunity, ideally in medical devices or defense. He blogs at and tweets at @davidhuntpe, opining about Human Resources, Economics, and more, and he writes engineering case studies that demonstrate his experience, wide-ranging interests and intellectual breadth. David hopes to get people to understand that companies hire and employ people, not assets, capitals or resources.


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Katrina Collier - Chief Searchologist

Katrina Collier is recognised globally as an expert on social recruiting. From SMEs to global corporates, she has trained countless HR and Recruitment professionals around the world to recruit on social media. From recruitment newbies to dedicated sourcers, from dinosaurs to the socially savvy.

With 10+ years of social recruiting and full-cycle recruitment experience, she’s passionate about social sourcing, employer branding and candidate engagement. Get in touch and ease the pain of your recruitment.