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More than half of employers have rejected an applicant due to social media posts, finds survey

A new survey from found that 55 per cent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the candidate.

Forty-eight per cent of employers currently use social networking sites to research job candidates. Additionally, 12 per cent of employers that don’t currently research candidates on social media plan to start.

Beyond Social Networking

Employers aren’t limiting themselves to just social networks when it comes to researching a candidates’ web presence. Half (50%) of employers use search engines such as Google to research potential job candidates, with 21 per cent saying they do so frequently or always.

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 reject a candidate included:

&middot         Candidate posted information about their drinking or drug habits – 45%

&middot         Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employees – 39%

&middot         Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 38%

&middot         Candidate lied about their qualifications – 37%

&middot         Candidate had poor communications skills – 35%

&middot         Candidate was linked to criminal behaviour – 25%

&middot         Candidate posted discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc – 20%

However, one third (34%) of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. Some of the most common reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social networking presence included:

&middot         Job candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job –           49%

&middot         Job candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests – 44%

&middot         Job candidate had great communication skills – 44%

&middot         Job candidate’s online site conveyed a professional image – 40%

&middot         Job candidate’s personality was clearly a good fit within the company culture – 37%

“It’s important for job seekers to remember that much of what they post to the Internet – and equally importantly, 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 available 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.”

Haefner recommends the following DOs and DON’Ts to keep a positive image online:

&middot         DOclean 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.

&middot         DO consider creating your own professional group on social media sites to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.

&middot         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.

&middot         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.

&middot         DON’Tmention your job search if you’re still employed.  


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