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Posting a picture of you drinking a beer no longer hurts your career, but this could...

© Sean Murphy / Lifesize / Thinkstock © Sean Murphy / Lifesize / Thinkstock


By J. T. O'Donnell, Founder and CEO, WorkItDaily.com


Over 44 percent of US businesses are using social media to screen applicants. They are doing it to fill in gaps of information on an applicant's personality and character. Tech companies like Fama, provide employers with the ability to surface very specific criteria when screening a job candidate. Yes, they know if you like having cocktails. But, here's why they say you shouldn't worry so much about that anymore...

Okay, You Played Beer Pong - But, So Have Millions Of Other People

Fama did a case study on 15,000 American employees in early 2016. They found the appearance of alcohol on a person's social accounts had little to no effect on their job performance. Why? So many people have alcohol on their social accounts that using it as a data point in the screening process can be counterproductive because you'd end up screening almost everyone out. Plus, most employers don't care about that photo of you drinking a beer at a party or playing that drinking game in college. Besides, many start-ups tout cocktail hours as one of their employee perks. That being said, as a career coach, I wouldn't say you should go nuts filling your feed with party pictures. If getting drunk is the only thing you share about yourself online, they will be concerned.

Employers DON'T Tolerate Racial Slurs & Prohibited Substances

Fama does warn against referencing certain activities on social media. Bigoted comments and any mentions of illegal drugs are the two biggest red flags employers are looking for today. Even if you were kidding, employers aren't tolerant of that behavior. The reality is people who post these often feel there is nothing wrong with their behavior - and that's why they are more likely to do it in the workplace too.

And, Here Are A Few Other Things To Consider...

Fama offers these additional tips:

1. Be careful of what you "like" on social media. Employers are looking at that too. In their opinion, liking a bigoted comment or posts about illegal drugs indicates they are part of your interests.

2. Limit how active you are on social media during the day. If you are posting and liking content all day during business hours, employers will assume you aren't devoting enough time and attention to your job.

3. Don't speak ill of a former employer. Keep gripes with an old boss or co-worker private. Airing your dirty laundry indicates a lack of good judgment and an inability to keep company matters confidential.

4. Hype the volunteering and community involvement. Employers are always looking for new teammates that will help build an inclusive and community-minded work environment. Sharing the charity race you are running in or the animal shelter you volunteer at will gain you points.

In summary, technology is being used to assess you as a potential employee. Think about what you post and like online. It still could make or break you getting that job!

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

The original "Posting a picture of you drinking a beer no longer hurts your career, but this could..." article can be seen here.

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