Posted by Heidi Schwartz
More employers are turning to social networking sites to find additional information on potential candidates – and they’re not entirely impressed with what they’re seeing. A new survey from CareerBuilder found that 51% of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate, up from 43% last year and 34% in 2012.
Forty-three percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 39% last year and 36% in 2012. Additionally, 12% of employers don’t currently research candidates on social media, but plan to start, according to the national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.
Watch What You Post
Employers shared the strangest things they’ve discovered on job candidates’ or current employees’ social media profiles, including:
- Candidate’s profile included links to an escort service
- Candidate posted a photo of a warrant for his arrest
- Candidate posted an exercise video for grandmothers
- Candidate had sued his wife for shooting him in the head
- Candidate featured a pig as his closest friend
- Candidate posted his dental exam results
- Candidate bragged about driving drunk and not getting caught on several occasions
- Candidate was actively involved in a demonic cult
- Candidate posted Sasquatch pictures he had taken
Beyond Social Networking
Employers aren’t limiting themselves to social networks when it comes to researching candidates’ web presences. Forty-five percent of employers use search engines such as Google to research potential job candidates, with 20% saying they do so frequently or always. Additionally, 12% of employers say they’ve reviewed a potential job candidate’s posts or comments on Glassdoor.com, Yelp.com or other ratings sites.
Helping or Hurting?
So what are employers finding on social media that’s prompting them to eliminate candidates from consideration? The most common reasons to pass on a candidate included:
- Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 46%
- Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs – 41%
- Job candidates bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee – 36%
- Job candidate had poor communication skills – 32%
- Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc. – 28%
- Job candidate lied about qualifications – 25%
- Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers – 24%
- Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior – 22%
- Job candidate’s screen name was unprofessional – 21%
- Job candidate lied about an absence – 13%
However, one third (33%) of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. What’s more, nearly a quarter (23%) found content that directly led to them hiring the candidate, up from 19% last year.
Some of the most common reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social networking presence included:
- Got a good feel for the job candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company culture – 46%
- Job candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job – 45%
- Job candidate’s site conveyed a professional image – 43%
- Job candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests – 40%
- Job candidate had great communication skills – 40%
- Job candidate was creative – 36%
- Job candidate received awards and accolades – 31%
- Other people posted great references about the job candidate – 30%
- Job candidate had interacted with my company’s social media accounts – 24%
- Job candidate had a large number of followers or subscribers – 14%
“It’s important for job seekers to remember that much of what they post to the Internet – and in some cases what others post about them – can be found by potential employers, and that can affect their chances of getting hired down the road,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Job seekers need to stay vigilant and pay attention to privacy updates from all of their social networking accounts so they know what information is out there for others to see. Take control of your web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and monitoring posts you’ve been tagged in.”
Many workers and job seekers are taking measures to protect their privacy and avoid over-sharing with potential employers. Nearly half (47%) of workers only share posts with friends and family, 41% have their profile set to private, and 18% keep separate professional and personal profiles. Twenty-eight percent of workers say they don’t use social media.