Using Social Media to Research Potential Job Candidates

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social-media

More Than Half of Employers Have Found Content on Social Media That Caused Them NOT to Hire a Candidate, According to Recent CareerBuilder Survey

  • Seven in ten employers (70 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates during hiring process
  • Nearly half of employers (48 percent) check up on current employees on social media
  • A third of employers (34 percent) have reprimanded or fired an employee based on content found online

Your social media posts might win over or make you lose friends, but according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, they could also have a big impact on prospective employers. Seventy percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates (on par with last year), while seven percent plan to start. And that review matters: Of those that do social research, 57 percent have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.

The national survey was conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder by The Harris Poll between April 4 and May 1, 2018. It included a representative sample of more than 1,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

Who’s Checking and Why?

Broken down by industry, those in IT (74 percent) and manufacturing (73 percent) are more likely than those in retail/non-retail sales (59 percent) to do social networking digging on potential job candidates. But it’s not just the social sites that are fair game – 66 percent of employers say they use search engines to conduct their research on potential job candidates.

Nearly half of employers (47 percent) say that if they can’t find a job candidate online, they are less likely to call that person in for an interview – 28 percent say that is because they like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview, 20 percent say they expect candidates to have an online presence.

According to employers who use social networking sites to research potential job candidates, what they’re looking for when researching candidates is:

  • Information that supports their qualifications for the job: 58 percent
  • If the candidate has a professional online persona: 50 percent
  • What other people are posting about the candidate: 34 percent
  • A reason not to hire the candidate: 22 percent

Content to be Careful About

As social media permeates all aspects of our personal and professional lives, what you post online can have serious and lasting consequences. Employers who found content on a social networking site that caused them not to hire a job candidate said these were the primary reasons:

  • Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 40 percent
  • Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 36 percent
  • Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to rage, gender, religion, etc.: 31 percent
  • Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 30 percent
  • Job candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
  • Job candidate had poor communication skills: 27 percent
  • Job candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 25 percent
  • Job candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22 percent
  • Job candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 20 percent
  • Job candidate lied about an absence: 16 percent
  • Job candidate posted too frequently: 12 percent

On the other hand, those that found content that led them to hire a candidate said it was because they saw:

  • Job candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job: 37 percent
  • Job candidate was creative: 34 percent
  • Job candidate’s site conveyed a professional image: 33 percent
  • Job candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests: 31 percent
  • Got a good feel for the job candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company culture: 31 percent
  • Job candidate had great communications skills: 28 percent
  • Job candidate received awards and accolades: 26 percent
  • Other people posted great references about the job candidate: 23 percent
  • Job candidate had interacted with my company’s social media accounts: 22 percent
  • Job candidate posted compelling video or other content: 21 percent
  • Job candidate had a large number of followers or subscribers: 18 percent

The Monitoring Doesn’t Stop Once on the Job

Employers continue to monitor employees’ online presence even after they’re hired. Nearly half of employers (48 percent) say they use social networking sites to research current employees— 10 percent do it daily. Further, a third of employers (34 percent) have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Research Method

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 1,012 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between April 4 and May 1, 2018. Data for employers were weighted where necessary by company size and job level to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

About CareerBuilder®

CareerBuilder is a global, end-to-end human capital solutions company focused on helping employers find, hire and manage great talent. Combining advertising, software and services, CareerBuilder leads the industry in recruiting solutions, employment screening and human capital management. CareerBuilder is majority-owned by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC and operates in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.