One in five employers research candidates on social networks

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One in five employers research candidates on social networks

Twenty-two per cent of hiring managers said they use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 11 per cent in 2006, according to a US survey.

An additional nine per cent said they don’t currently follow this practice, but intend to start.

US website surveyed more than 3100 employers earlier this year and released the results on Wednesday.

The survey showed that hiring managers are increasingly using non-conventional methods to gather information on potential employees.

Of the hiring managers who have screened job candidates via social networking profiles, one third said they had found information which caused them to dismiss the candidate from consideration.

Hiring managers unearthed a range of information about potential candidates. The survey asked hiring managers what factors would lead them to dismiss a candidate.

Top of the list was evidence that the candidate drank or took drugs (41 per cent), provocative or inappropriate photographs or information (40 per cent), and poor communication skills (29 per cent).

A candidate’s relationship with their previous employers was also on display. Hiring managers were concerned about candidates who had bad-mouthed previous companies or fellow employees (28 per cent), lied about their qualifications (27 per cent) or shared confidential information from previous employers (19 per cent).

But social networking sites were also used for positive discrimination, with 24 per cent of hiring managers who did research on social networking sites saying they found content that helped to solidify their decision to hire the candidate.

Hiring managers were impressed by good communication skills, creative online profiles and a professional image.

“Hiring managers are using the Internet to get a more well-rounded view of job candidates in terms of their skills, accomplishments and overall fit within the company,” said Rosemary Haefner, VP HR at

“As a result, more job seekers are taking action to make their social networking profiles employer-friendly.

“Sixteen per cent of workers who have social networking pages said they modified the content on their profile to convey a more professional image to potential employers.”

Haefner said that potential candidates should "clean up their digital dirt" by removing incriminating pictures and content from their profiles. Candidates should be selective about joining groups and adding friends, in case they later regretted the association.

If all else failed, Haefner said that candidates should make their profiles private, to keep them out of employer's eyes.
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