Friday, April 23, 2010

Social Media Being Used to Screen Job Applicants

Today's job market is the toughest in decades. And the old adage about finding a job having to do more with who you know than what you know seems to be more pronounced than ever, as employers are turning to social networking sites like Facebook to screen applicants.

A recent survey commissioned by Microsoft discovered that 79 percent of recruiters and hiring managers in the United States have reviewed online information posted to social networking sites and blogs to screen job candidates, and 70 percent have rejected an applicant based on information they found.

The study was conducted by market research firm, Cross-Tab, between December 10 and 23, 2009, in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Approximately 275 recruiters, human resources (HR) professionals, and hiring managers, and about 330 consumers were interviewed in each country to obtain the results.

The findings should make would-be applicants take a second look at their privacy settings and be far more cautious about what they are blogging or tweeting about publicly, as all of it -- including what may seem like innocuous drinking photos -- can be used against you by hiring officials.

Another interesting finding of the study lay in the fact that recruiters and HR professionals aren't just screening haphazardly; they have actually made online screening a formal requirement of the hiring process. And 85 percent of survey respondents said that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions.

Despite these realities, 85 percent of job candidates stated they did not feel their online reputation mattered to hiring managers, showing a huge discrepancy between perception and reality.

So what exactly are companies looking at when they screen?

The study identified 13 different types of websites used, including search engines, blogs, social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, photo sharing sites like Flickr, Twitter, personal websites, gaming sites, and even virtual worlds. The percentage of hiring managers using these sites are listed below.

Interestingly, male hiring managers were more likely than female employees to screen job candidates using online information. Regardless, both sexes were looking for information about the candidate's lifestyle, inappropriate comments left, unsuitable photos and videos, memberships in certain groups, and surprisingly, inappropriate comments left by friends, family, and colleagues.

Given these realities, job candidates in and outside of government would be wise to watch what they say to protect their personal information from prying eyes.

Original Article


Personally, I use Social Media to drive candidates to apply at my corporate job site. Why would I want to rule out an otherwise great candidate just because I don't like their taste in music or political affiliation? It is hard enough to find qualified candidates without having to worry about things that won't matter on the job. TE

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