More companies go online to research candidates

You could end up hiring inappropriate candidates that other companies have already rejected if you aren’t one of the 45% (and rising) of companies that dig for dirt (and gold) on applicants’ social networking sites.

The number of hiring managers reviewing a candidate’s musings, photos, updates and tweets on social media sites has doubled compared with a year ago, when only 22% looked online. And by the end of this year, a further 11% will be checking online profiles before hiring.

In this economy, employers can afford to be picky. And they are. Nearly 35% say they’ve found inappropriate content online that caused them not to hire a candidate.

What turns them off?

  • 53% ruled out candidates who had posted inappropriate photos
  • 44% eliminated candidates who’d said something about drugs or drinking (a reminder not to tell the world when you have a hangover!)
  • 35% said no to applicants who had bad mouthed colleagues, coworkers and previous employers
  • 26% discovered job hunters had made discriminatory comments
  • 24% found  job hunters had lied about qualifications, and
  • 20% discovered that candidates had shared confidential info from previous employers. That could send a red flag that they may take a similar approach to commercially sensitive data.

It’s not all provocative photos and bitching online, found the study of 2,600 hiring managers by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive.

Some employers have found info on sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs and LinkedIn that have encouraged them to hire candidates.

You may want to ask:

Does the profile of the candidate fit the job description? 50% of employers say candidates’ online activities and profiles confirmed their instincts.

Does the candidate’s bio support their professional qualifications? 39% employers have analyzed this.

Does the candidate show creativity? 39% checked this.

Do they write well? Show solid communication skills? 35% have looked at this.

Have others posted references? That was important to 19% of recruiters.

Of course, what’s inappropriate to one employer may be acceptable to your organization. For example, 14% have eliminated candidates who have sent e-mails with text language like GR8 instead of writing great. That could be a big deal to some recruiters, but irrelevant to others.

Read more on this study at CareerBuilder.

Posted by Julie Power, editor in chief of the Internet Marketing Report Online.  Follow her on Twitter on JuliePower and HRTraining.

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