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Employers Are Looking at Your Social Media

Topics: Career Advice
If you grew up with social media, then your parents and teachers warned you throughout your life about the damage you can do to your reputation online. But, will prospective employers really check your profiles while evaluating you for a job? The latest research says: probably. In fact, the number of employers who look at candidates' social media has increased 500 percent in the past 10 years, according to one survey.

If you grew up with social media, then your parents and teachers warned you throughout your life about the damage you can do to your reputation online. But, will prospective employers really check your profiles while evaluating you for a job? The latest research says: probably. In fact, the number of employers who look at candidates’ social media has increased 500 percent in the past 10 years, according to one survey.

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(Photo Credit: splitshire.com via Pexels)

In February and March of 2016, Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, conducted a nationwide survey to better understand social media’s impact on the hiring process and workers. The survey included over 2,100 hiring managers and HR professionals as well as over 3,000 employees in the U.S. who worked full-time in the private sector. Here are a few interesting takeaways:

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1. Employers check up on their employees, too.

Potential new hires aren’t the only ones being researched online. According to the results of the survey, 41 percent of employers research current employees on social networking sites, and nearly one-third use search engines to investigate them. And, they don’t necessarily keep the information they glean from this research to themselves. More than one-fourth (26 percent) of employers said that they’d found content online that caused them to fire or reprimand an employee at some point along the way.

2. Employers from every industry use social media to check up on candidates during the hiring process.

A large percentage of hiring managers utilize social networking sites to check up on prospective candidates. The rates at which they did this varied by industry. In IT, the rate was 76 percent, and in sales, it was 65 percent. These industries scored the highest for this practice of all those surveyed. Professional and business services used this resource the least, and even then, 55 percent of hiring managers checked up on candidates via social media.

3. Hiring managers are looking for different things.

When asked what they’re looking for when they research a candidate on social media, hiring managers provided a range of responses. Only 21 percent admitted they were looking for reasons not to hire the candidate, whereas 60 percent said they were “looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job.” Thirty percent said they were looking into what other people had to say about the candidate, and 53 percent said they wanted to see if the candidate was projecting a professional image online.

4. A lot of employers won’t hire people if they don’t like what they see.

Employers turn away from candidates because of the information they learn about them online all the time. In fact, 49 percent of hiring managers say they’ve decided not to hire a candidate because of this. Among those, 46 percent said they did so because of “provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information,” and 43 percent said they did so because they found information related to the candidate’s use of drugs or alcohol. Almost one-third said that it was because the “candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee.” As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to keep your social media presence clean and professional, especially during a job search.

5. Sometimes, candidates turn the tables on hiring managers.

Employers aren’t the only ones using social media to do some research during a hiring process. Nearly one in five workers (18 percent) said that they had used social media to research hiring mangers while they were job hunting. So, these folks should be sure to keep their online presence professional as well.

Be sure to check out the full report for more information on the survey and its findings.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you think social media impacts the hiring process? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.


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Samar Misra
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Samar Misra

Even if it is said that parents and teachers warned of Social Media blunders, in reality there are many parents and teachers that go too far on social media or commit worse behavior blunders outside of Social media.

At worst in reality are some hiring managers or senior professionals that unacceptably unprofessional and immature as surely no way to model to their children. How ironic these very adults demand such social media elegance?

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