One Fifth of Employers Check Out Candidates Online

  • One Fifth of Employers Check Out Candidates OnlineThe Find: If you're a professional looking for that extra little impetus to clean up your social networking profile, look no further than recent findings that one-in-five hiring managers check out potential hires on Facebook and the like.
  • The Source: A recent survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of
The Takeaway: Bringing your camera to that bar or party might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but if the result was some less than businesslike pictures of you posted online than be warned, what seemed like an innocent bit of fun may be seriously impacting your chances of getting hired. Harris Interactive asked more than 3,000 human resource professionals if they use social networking sites to research candidates, and the statistics are stark:
  • In 2006, 11 percent of hiring managers checked up on a potential hire's online life, now twice as many do and a further 9 percent are planning to start.
  • Of the 22 percent now examining sites like Facebook, one third said they had found something online that caused them to dismiss a previously promising candidate from consideration.
  • On the other hand, 24 percent said that they had "found content that helped to solidify their decision to hire the candidate" online.
So what sort of presence helps and what sort hurts your chances of landing your dream job? Most points are obvious: references to drugs, bad mouthing previous employers or colleagues, or simple bad communication skills are all going to lessen your appeal. On the flip side a creative, well-presented profile that lists your accomplishments and shows your passion for your work can be a huge boost. If this research has you feeling a little nervous about your online image, Careerbuilder weighs in with some advice:
  • Make sure to remove pictures, content and links that can send the wrong message to a potential employer
  • Update your profile regularly including specific accomplishments, inside and outside of work
  • Monitor comments: since you can't control what other people say on your site, you may want to use the "block comments" feature.
  • Join groups selectively
  • No amount of scrubbing will polish your online image? Consider setting your profile to "private"
And if you're new to this whole social media networking thing, check out this BNET feature and learn the ropes.

The Question: What impression would a hiring manager get from your social networking profile(s)?

(Image of man examining Facebook by Kevin Saff, CC 2.0)