How Social Media Can Cost Someone Their Job

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It is where we share our memories, our photos and sometimes our opinions.

But when it comes to social media, some might be sharing too much.

“We’re not only looking at the types of comments they’re making, we’re also looking for spelling, grammar. It’s an online resume,” said Jolene Risch, a job recruiter who owns and operates Risch Results.

When a new applicant comes into her office, Risch said she starts with Google.

“Who they are 24 hours a day is important to the company,” said Risch.

She then checks the obvious places like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Risch watches for unprofessional photos, curse words and racist or sexist comments. They are red flags Risch said companies want to know about before a candidate walks into the interview.

“We’re not fishing for bad content,” said Risch. “We’re not looking until we find the worst picture of one of our candidates.”

Risch said she is also checking how often they are using social media.

“You see that someone posts, three, four, five times a day, you’re wondering should they be working?” questioned Risch.

Just the opposite, no social media presence, is also a warning sign.

“If I can’t find someone at all, I’m wondering is this person who they really are?” said Risch.

While skills and experience are important, Risch said companies want to invest in a good cultural fit as well.

“If people want to have an inappropriate social media presence, they’re welcome to but we’re not going to present them to our clients,” said Risch.

Dallas-based Fortune 500 company Southwest Airlines hired close to 7,000 people in 2015 and recruiters use social media to find many of them.

“Look at your social media from a lens of an employer and say, ‘What would people think about that?’” said Shari Conaway, Director of People at Southwest Airlines.

State Farm’s new, North Texas hub in Richardson saw 2,000 new hires in the first year of operation and still has hundreds of empty desks to fill.

The company said ut uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to engage with potential hires before hiring events.

“You should always be prepared and have a proactive approach to keeping in mind the job field is really competitive and you want to make a positive first impression whether that’s in person or online,” said Chris Pilcic, spokesperson for State Farm.

But even if someone’s social media footprint is not so clean, experts feel it is not too late to spruce up their online profiles.

“Hit delete. I mean delete is your friend,” said Janet Johnson, a UT Dallas Social Media Professor.

Johnson said what a person shares becomes their brand.

“Do you have a lot of drinking pictures on your profile? Are you cursing on Twitter? Are you complaining about companies? Are you complaining about your boss?” questioned Johnson.

If someone would not show a picture or recite a post to their boss, it should not be out there in the first place.

“One tweet can ruin your life,” said Johnson.

Creating a professional presence on the web will also help according to Johnson.

“Instead of cutiepie@gmail.com, have a name — JanetJohnson@gmail.com,” said Johnson.

Changing privacy settings are an option. But Johnson said if someone is questioning a post, it is best not to hit send at all.

“You have to be aware that data doesn’t die. Everyone has a camera phone now that you can easily take a screen shot of anything,” said Johnson.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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