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These social media mistakes can hurt your job search

June 30, 2014 17:11 IST

These social media mistakes can hurt your job search


Courtesy CareerBuilder

In the latest survey, employers share the most unusual activities on candidates' social media profiles and tell us why it caused them to lose the job on offer.

More and more employers are turning to social networking sites to find additional information on potential candidates -- and they're not entirely impressed with what they’re seeing.

According to a new survey from CareerBuilder, 51 per cent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they've found content that caused them to not hire the candidate, up from 43 per cent last year and 34 per cent in 2012.

Forty three per cent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 39 per cent last year and 36 per cent in 2012.

Twelve per cent employers don't currently research candidates on social media, but plan to start, according to the national survey, which was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.

The survey conducted between February 10 and March 4, 2014 included a representative sample of 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals, and a representative sample 3,022 full-time, private sector workers across industries and company sizes.

According to the survey, 45 per cent employers use search engines such as Google to research potential job candidates, with 20 per cent saying they do so frequently or always.

So what are employers finding on social media that’s prompting them to eliminate candidates from consideration?

The most common reasons to pass on a candidate included:

  • Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information: 46 per cent
  • Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 41 per cent
  • Job candidates bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 36 per cent
  • Job candidate had poor communication skills: 32 per cent
  • Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc.: 28 per cent
  • Job candidate lied about qualifications: 25 per cent
  • Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 24 per cent
  • Job candidate was linked to criminal behaviour: 22 per cent
  • Job candidate's screen name was unprofessional: 21 per cent
  • Job candidate lied about an absence: 13 per cent

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Image: An increasing number of recruiters are checking social media profiles of candidates before hiring them for the job.
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters


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However, one third (33 per cent) of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they've found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate.

What's more, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) found content that directly led to them hiring the candidate, up from 19 per cent last year.

Some of the most common reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social networking presence included:

  • Got a good feel for the job candidate's personality, could see a good fit within the company culture: 46 per cent
  • Job candidate's background information supported their professional qualifications for the job: 45 per cent
  • Job candidate’s site conveyed a professional image: 43 per cent
  • Job candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests: 40 per cent
  • Job candidate had great communication skills: 40 per cent
  • Job candidate was creative: 36 per cent
  • Job candidate received awards and accolades: 31 per cent
  • Other people posted great references about the job candidate: 30 per cent
  • Job candidate had interacted with my company’s social media accounts: 24 per cent
  • Job candidate had a large amount of followers or subscribers: 14 per cent

"It's important for job seekers to remember that much of what they post to the Internet -- and in some cases what others post about them -- can be found by potential employers, and that can affect their chances of getting hired down the road," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at CareerBuilder.

"Job seekers need to stay vigilant, and pay attention to privacy updates from all of their social networking accounts so they know what information is out there for others to see. Take control of your web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and monitoring posts you've been tagged in."


Image: Hiring professionals were more likely to consider candidates who had a clean and positive profile.
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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