This week, someone pulled a prank on the president. While speaking to thousands of kids at an event in Washington, D.C., the backdrop appeared to be the presidential seal. However, upon closer inspection it was revealed the seal was not accurate. It was doctored to include a Russian symbol and a set of golf clubs. While the joke was clearly meant to make people chuckle, my immediate thought was, "If they catch the persons who did it, their careers may suffer." Sharing political views (even humorously), are still considered taboo on the job. 

Study shows 47 percent of recruiters look on social media to see if the candidate posts about politics. 

A 2018 study by Jobvite indicates more than 90 percent of recruiters research a candidate on social media before inviting them to interview. With a whopping 47 percent of them saying they screen out candidates who post about politics. The only thing worse for your job search is posting pictures of marijuana. Apparently, 57 percent of recruiters will screen you out for that. Which is far higher than the 42 percent who will screen you out for pictures of alcohol. In short, posting things that indicate you might be a political activist with a penchant for partying is the job search kiss-of-death.

Skip the political talk in the workplace if you want to stay employable long-term.

With the exception of working in politics, it still holds true that you should avoid talking about it in the office, or posting about it on social media. Even if you work with open-minded professionals, the reality is people will judge you for your choices. This can limit your job prospects in the future. Every job is temporary. Some day, you'll likely need to tap into your network of contacts for help getting a new job. When you do, those that recall your passion for politics will hesitate to help you out of fear you may offend their colleagues. Nobody is going to risk their own career and professional relationships for someone who might offend the people they work with. It's too risky.

P.S. - With the upcoming election, you might think it's okay to bend the rules. Well, it isn't. Here's why...

The polarization of our nation right now is quite high. People's thoughts and feelings about politics are severly heightened and emotionally charged. Thus, if you offend someone during an election cycle, their memory of it is likely to be much stronger. Associating you with negative feelings that will make your colleagues even less likely to help you with a job search in the future. Thus, no matter how tempting, and even if you're baited, take the high road and stay clear of political discussions in the workplace. Simply saying, "I have no opinion on the subject." Or, "I use the workplace as a break from all the political talk," are two easy ways to avoid the conversation. While it might feel akward to say the first time, once you do, people will know to skip the political talk around you. Making it easier for you to maintaing a good professional reputation!

Published on: Jul 25, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.