55 percent of employers using social networks to check on candidates.

More employers are utilizing social networking sites to screen potential employees. Forty-five percent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, a big jump from 22 percent last year. Another 11 percent plan to start using social networking sites for screening.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace. One-in-ten (11 percent) search blogs while 7 percent follow candidates on Twitter.


Why did 35 percent of employers find that caused them to “knock-out” candidates after searching online? The top examples cited include:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
  • Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
  • Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
  • Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20 percent

Fourteen percent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face while 16 percent dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an e-mail or job application.

On the other hand, 18 percent of employers found online screening helpful and they hired candidates using the information as part of the selection process.

The top examples include:

  • Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit – 50 percent
  • Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications – 39 percent
  • Candidate was creative – 38 percent
  • Candidate showed solid communication skills – 35 percent
  • Candidate was well-rounded – 33 percent
  • Other people posted good references about the candidate – 19 percent
  • Candidate received awards and accolades – 15 percent

 Is it fair and valid to use information found on a social networking site to hire or not hire?  What relevance does what one does on their personal time have to do with ability to perform at work?  What do you think?


Ira S Wolfe


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    College students are getting used to the idea of having their profiles viewed by potential employers. A 2008 survey of about 19,000 college students conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that 51 percent of respondents expected an employer to view their profiles.

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  8. Rodelio Lagahit October 13, 2009 at 4:32 pm -

    fact is, some of these employers don’t know that they’re violating some of these social networks “TOS” if they’re using their service site for such enquiry – commercial in nature. Not unless if he/she gives you access to check on his/her profile.

  9. Doug Runkle October 9, 2009 at 10:40 am -

    This is all part of the new paradigm. Potential candidates are looking at employer websites, possibly even doing research on key employees and the interviewer themselves. It should be expected that employers are doing reciprocal research.
    What one does on their personal time shares important clues on how a potential employee may fit into the corporate culture. If that information is public and readily available, as an employer it should be considered. However, the interviewer should be careful to not apply a personal bias towards a candidate based upon interests that may or may not mirror their own.

  10. Ann October 7, 2009 at 10:14 am -

    How do you track someone on facebook? Don’t they have to give you permission to “be their friend?”