According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 45% of employers reported using social networks to screen prospective job candidates. This is a significant jump from 22 percent last year. Approximately 11 percent stated that they plan to start using social networks to research potential employees in the future.
Over 2,600 hiring managers were included in the survey, which was completed in June.
Of the employers who do online searches, due diligence and background checks on job candidates, 29% use Facebook, 26% use LinkedIn and 21% use MySpace. About 11% search blog posts and 7% search Twitter profiles.
No suprisingly, the top industries that use social networks and search engines to research job candidates via social networking sites are those that specialize in technology and sensitive information, including IT employers at 63% and Professional and B2B Services at 53%.
Over one third of employers say they have found online content on social networks that caused them not to hire a job candidate.
14% of employers have passed on a potential employee because the job candidate sent an online message using an emoticon and 16% report excluding a job candidate for using shorthand text language such as LOL in an email or application.
In addition, 18% of employers say they have found content on social network profiles that caused them to hire a job candidate.
Rosemary Haefner is Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder and advises job seekers that: “Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and promote your personal brand across the Internet. Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications.”
Rosemary gives the following specific advice for people seeking jobs —–
1. Clean up digital dirt BEFORE you begin your job search. Remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.
2. Consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook or BrightFuse.com to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.
3. Keep gripes offline. Keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.
4. Remember that other people can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the “block comments” feature or setting your profile to “private” so only designated friends can view it.
5. Do not mention your job search if you’re still employed.