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50% of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates


As social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are utilising these sites to screen potential employees. More than half (53%) of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates. Another 12% plan to start using social networking sites for screening. More than 450 employers participated in the survey, which was completed in December 2009.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 43% use search engines, 12% use Facebook and 12% use LinkedIn. Three per cent search blogs, while an additional 4% follow candidates on Twitter.

Why Employers Disregarded Candidates After Screening Online

As job seekers gear up their search for employment in the new year, they are cautioned to be mindful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Forty-three per cent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

  • Candidate lied about qualifications – 38%
  • Candidate showed poor communication skills – 31%
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments – 13%
  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 10%
  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 9%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 9%
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 8%

Why Employers Hired Candidates After Screening Online

Job seekers are also encouraged to leverage social media in advertising their skills and experience. Half of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. The top examples include:

  • Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications – 61%
  • Candidate showed solid communication skills – 41%
  • Candidate was well-rounded – 37%
  • Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit – 28%
  • Candidate seemed creative –24%
  • Candidate conveyed a professional image – 22%
  • Candidate received awards and accolades – 15%
  • Other people posted good references about the candidate – 15%

“Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities in 2010 and promote your personal brand across the Internet,” said Farhan Yasin, president of CareerBuilder EMEA.

In addition, once job seekers land a position, they need to mindful of their online usage. 48% of employers monitor employees’ use of e-mail and the Internet. 28% of employers reported that they have fired an employee for information found on his/her social networking profile. The most common reasons for termination were due to negative posts about the company or another employee, because they shared confidential information or because they represented themselves in an unprofessional manner (38% each).

Yasin recommends the following DOs and DON’Ts to keep a positive image online this year:

1) DO clean up digital dirt BEFORE you begin your job search. Remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.

2) DO consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook or to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.

3) DO keep gripes offline. Keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.

4) DON’T forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the “block comments” feature or setting your profile to “private” so only designated friends can view it.

5) DON’T mention your job search if you’re still employed.

About Social Guy

Social Guy
Social Guy is a tech buff, online entrepreneur and social animal. He is best-known as the Editor-in-Chief of SOCIABLE, the world’s leading social media news source. Social Guy's 7+ year career with SOCIABLE began when he joined as a blogger in August 2007. Guy’s work has been quoted or featured in media such as ZDNet, Examiner, Marketwatch, PC Magazine, Wired, CNET, and The New York Times.