Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Potential Employers Are Checking Your Social Networking Sites

More than half (53%) of employers are currently checking social networking websites to research potential employees. At least that's what a recent survey by found. In addition to that, 12% plan to start using networking sites to research potential employees in 2010.

The survey was completed in December 2009 and 450 employers participated. Of those, 43% said they use Google or other search engines to research candidates, 12% use Facebook and 12% use Twitter. Only 3% search for a blog.

Without a doubt, the screening led to some job candidates not receiving interviews or being hired. What were the main reasons for being disregarded?

  • 38% said the candidate lied about their qualifications
  • 31% said the candidate showed bad communication skills
  • 13% said the candidate made "discriminatory comments"
  • 10% said the candidate posted about drinking or drug use
  • 9% said the candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photos or information
  • 9% said the candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer
  • 8% said the candidate revealed confidential information from a previous employer

On the other hand, some employees said they were more inclined to hire a candidate upon screening them online and encourage job seekers to advertise themselves this way. Reasons for this include:

  • 61% said the profile supported a candidates qualifications
  • 41% said the candidate had good communication skills
  • 37% said the candidate was "well-rounded"
  • 28% said they got a good feel for the candidate's personality from their profiles
  • 24% said the candidate seemed creative
  • 22% said the candidate had a professional image
  • 15% said the candidate received professional awards and accolades
  • 15% said other people posted good references about the candidate

But just because you've landed a job doesn't mean you should throw all care to the wind when it comes to social networking. Nearly half of employers (48%) monitor current employees online and 28% have admitted to firing someone after finding information on his or her social networking profiles. The reasons for this included mostly, sharing confidential information, talking poorly of the company or another employee, or participating in unprofessional behavior.

If you are currently looking for a job, this situation is easy to avoid. Clean up anything that could be used against you such as photos of you in unflattering situations. Consider using your Facebook or other pages to connect with other professionals vs. your old friends from high school. This shows you are dedicated to your job search and your field. Try to keep things positive and even mind who you're friends with. Also, if you're still employed, don't mention that you are looking for a job. But if you find yourself running into any problems, you can always make your various social networking websites "private."

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