“Be careful of what information you post publicly online, it could come back to bite you” is standard Internet safety advice, but a new survey by CareerBuilder underscores why this advice is more relevant than ever.
Their survey found that social networking sites are now canvassed by 45% of employers looking to screen potential employees – more than doubling the number of employers that used these tools last year (22%). Another 11% of employers plan to start using social networking sites to screen job seekers in the future.
Unsurprisingly, the most common places employers search are Facebook (29%), LinkedIn (26%), and MySpace (21%). Blog searches command another 10% of employer searches and 7% check Twitter.
Social bloggers and posters aren’t filtering what they share
A whopping 35% of employers said they found information or content during their online searches of potential job candidates that caused them to reject the candidate.
While it should come as no surprise that posting inappropriate content, information about drinking and drug use, or lying about qualifications torpedoed would-be employees, you may be less aware about other pitfalls.
Bad-mouthing previous employers or sharing their confidential information is a job killer, as are poor communication skills – so while messages like WorKN HArD 2 KEEP IT EZ C NEW MUZIK ON DA PAGE may look cool to friends, it’s not winning points with employers – nor are the discriminatory comments and trash talk that is frequently dispensed.
Top examples of content sited as reason to not hire a candidate include:
- 53% of candidates posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
- 44% posted content about them drinking or using drugs
- 35% bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients
- 29% showed poor communication skills
- 26% made discriminatory comments
- 24% lied about qualifications
- 20% shared confidential information from previous employer
If you have these types of content on your site make it private, clean it up – or expect to have a harder time getting employment.
Some content helps land the job
The lesson to learn isn’t “don’t post content” it’s learn what is appropriate to share and with whom. The study also found that content on your site can significantly improve your chances in the job market. 18% of employers said information they found on social networking sites led them to hire the candidate.
Top examples of content that positively swayed employers hiring decisions include:
- 50% said a profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit within the organization
- 39% said the profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications
- 38% said the profile showed the candidate was creative
- 35% said the candidate showed solid communication skills
- 19% said other people posted good references about the candidate
With record numbers of unemployed people searching for work, competition for good positions is fierce. Dressing and presenting yourself appropriately for the interview is no longer enough, you need to be sure your online ‘style’ conveys the same message.
What happens online doesn’t stay online.