Although the Internet has transformed job-hunting, people's willingness to reveal the most intimate aspects of their lives online is giving employers a new and powerful tool in making hiring decisions.
A new survey from job-search site CareerBuilder of more than 2,100 hiring managers and human resource professionals, as well as more than 3,000 workers, found that more than half of employers who research potential employees on social media have found content that led them to not hire the candidate.
And this isn't just a passing trend. According to the survey, 43 percent of employers are using social networking sites to collect additional information about job applicants, up from 39 percent last year and 36 percent in 2012.
It seems a lot of job applicants are shooting themselves in their collective feet when it comes to what they publish online. CareerBuilder says some of the most common reasons companies found to pass on a candidate included:
- The job-seeker posted provocative or inappropriate information or pictures online (46 percent)
- The candidate published information about their drinking or drug-taking (41 percent)
- The potential employee made derogatory comments about their previous place of work or a fellow employee (36 percent)
- Candidates displayed poor communication skills (32 percent)
- Job-seekers made discriminatory comments regarding, race, gender, religion and other sensitive issues (28 percent)
- Applicants lied about their job qualifications (25 percent)
"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," Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder's vice president of human resources, said in a news statement.
"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," she added. "Take control of your web presence by limiting who can post to your profile and monitoring posts you've been tagged in."
All that being said, what you post about yourself can also assist employers in positive ways. About one-third of the employers surveyed said they found online content on the web that helped in their decisions to hire job candidate, including beneficial information about a person's personality, their professional qualifications, communications skills and range of interests.