As social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are utilizing these sites to screen consumer-spend-insightspotential employees. Forty-five percent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, a big jump from 22% in 2008. Another 11% plan to start using social networking sites for screening. Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29% use Facebook, 26% use LinkedIn and 21% use MySpace. One-in-ten (11%) search blogs while 7% 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%) and Professional & Business Services (53%). Why Employers Disregarded Candidates After Screening Online Job seekers are cautioned to be mindful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Thirty-five percent 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%
  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35%
  • Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29%
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26%
  • Candidate lied about qualifications – 24%
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20%

Fourteen percent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face while 16% dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an email or job application. Why Employers Hired Candidates After Screening Online Job seekers are also encouraged to leverage social media when advertising their skills and experience. Eighteen percent 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 within the organization – 50%
  • Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications – 39%
  • Candidate was creative – 38%
  • Candidate showed solid communication skills – 35%
  • Candidate was well-rounded – 33%
  • Other people posted good references about the candidate – 19%
  • Candidate received awards and accolades – 15%

“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.” Source: Study conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com, August 19, 2009.  Website: www.careerbuilder.com.