Almost half of employers use social networking to research job candidates

As social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are utilizing these sites to screen potential employees. Forty-five per cent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, a big jump from 22 per cent last year. Another 11 per cent plan to start using social networking sites for screening. More than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers participated in the survey, which was completed in June 2009.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 per cent use Facebook, 26 per cent use LinkedIn, and 21 per cent use MySpace. One-in-ten (11 per cent) search blogs while seven per cent follow candidates on Twitter.

The top industries most likely to screen job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines include those that specialize in technology and sensitive information: information technology (63 per cent), and professional and business services (53 per cent).

Why employers disregarded candidates after screening online
Thirty-five 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 posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information (53 per cent)
•     Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs (44 per cent)
•     Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients (35 per cent)
•     Candidate showed poor communication skills (29 per cent)
•     Candidate made discriminatory comments (26 per cent)
•     Candidate lied about qualifications (24 per cent)
•     Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer (20 per cent)

Fourteen per cent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face while 16 per cent dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an e-mail or job application.

Why they hired
Eighteen per cent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. The top examples include:

•     Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit (50 per cent)
•     Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications (39 per cent)
•     Candidate was creative (38 per cent)
•     Candidate showed solid communication skills (35 per cent)
•     Candidate was well-rounded (33 per cent)
•     Other people posted good references about the candidate (19 per cent)
•     Candidate received awards and accolades (15 per cent)

"Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and promote your personal brand across the Internet," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications."

CareerBuilder is a global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset – their people.

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