These are the opinions employers will reject you for

How much of your opinions on politics, race, religion and similar topics do you expose on social media? And have you ever wondered about the potential repercussions of oversharing on these topics during the job search?

A new study has shed some light on how one’s views on controversial topics can impact their chances of landing a job when the hiring manager has access to those views. Airtasker, an Australian online and mobile task marketplace, conducted a survey of people with hiring responsibilities and asked some interesting questions.

Employers want to know your opinions on these topics

The survey found that a majority of hiring managers said it was important to know what a potential employee’s opinions are on racial equality (65%), gender equality (59%), and LGBTQ+ rights (54%). Thirty-eight per cent said they would like to know an applicant’s stance on immigration, and 32% said the same about a candidate’s political opinions.

How are they finding out about these things? More than two-thirds of hiring managers, 69%, will visit a job applicant’s social media before making a decision. Facebook was the go-to for 91%, followed by Instagram (62%), Twitter (56%) and LinkedIn (55%).

And a surprising (to me, anyway) number (48%) said they would not hire a candidate who expressed very strong controversial political opinions on social media. Broken down by left and right, 51% of left-leaning and 57% of right leaning hiring managers said they would not hire a qualified candidate who expressed a strong opinion about a controversial political issue online.

Rejecting candidates

How many hiring managers had actually rejected a candidate based on a “strongly held belief?” Here’s the breakdown (also available below in a handy infographic).

  • 29% rejected a candidate for their stance on racial equality
  • 27% rejected a candidate for their stance on gender equality
  • 22% rejected a candidate for their stance on LGBTQ+ rights
  • 18% rejected a candidate for their “politics”
  • 16% rejected a candidate for their stance on immigration

Twenty per cent of hiring managers said they had actually fired someone over their opinions on subjects like racial and gender equality.

Should you just keep doing you?

How much of a difference this actually should make in your social media behaviour depends on who you are. If you are willing to stand by your politics and lose out on jobs because of your opinions, then you might as well go ahead and share them. On the other hand, if you’ve got hungry kids at home and suspect you are losing opportunities because of your outspokenness on certain topics, you might want to quiet it down so you can get a job and feed your family.