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Be careful what you post on the Internet, because a possible job employer is snooping around

At least one in five hiring managers hit the internet and looks at social networking websites to help research possible job candidates.   

Online job site CareerBuilder.com completed a survey of 3,169 hiring managers, with 22 percent of them saying they check on Facebook and MySpace when looking into job candidates.  Just two years ago, however, only 11 percent of employees looked at social networking sites before making a decision.

More than one-third (34 percent) of hiring managers dismissed possible candidates because of what they found on their profiles.  About nine percent who do not look on the web sites plan to beginning do so in the future.

  • 41 percent of candidates spoke of drinking and/or drug use
  • 40 percent posted provocative images or information
  • 29 percent had poor communication skills
  • 28 percent spoke badly about previous employers
  • 27 percent lied about their job qualifications
  • 22 percent posted offensive statements about race, gender, religion, etc.
  • 22 percent used an unprofessional screen name
  • 21 percent were linked to criminal behavior
  • 19 percent shared confidential information from previous employers

Job employers are becoming increasingly concerned about photos, video and written information of young people and their encounters with alcohol and recreational drugs.

But while what they find on the internet can disqualify candidates, looking on Facebook or MySpace also can help determine if a candidate is qualified for the job.

  • 48 percent of candidates had a background to help them acquire the job
  • 43 percent had good communication skills
  • 40 percent were a good fit for the company
  • 36 percent had a site portraying professionalism
  •  31 percent had references posted by others
  • 30 percent showed wide range of interests
  • 29 percent received either academic or professional awards
  • 24 percent of had creative or clever profiles

A general rule of thumb -- which obviously has been easily forgotten -- is that if you have anything you don't want publicly viewed, it should be published in "Friend's Only" mode on social networking sites.



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RE: What does this tell us...
By gmyx on 9/16/2008 7:25:43 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed this is a new low. I don't know about the US, but I'm pretty sure in Canada this is illegal (no a valid reference). Think about this: how many people have the same name (I know of 5 in my area that have the same first and last name). Are you sure you have the right one? If I would be disqualified (not possible since I don't have a Facebook or MySpace page, but still), I would bring them to court. Private Life != Professional Life.


RE: What does this tell us...
By johnadams on 9/16/2008 11:21:20 AM , Rating: 3
And not to mention the statistics on identity theft.
Someone could register under your name and wreak havoc on your reputation! Suddenly JohnDoe find himself broke and out of a job because another JohnDoe who lives near by posted naked pictures of his body parts on a gay website of which the hiring manager was browsing on a fine Sunday afternoon.


RE: What does this tell us...
By chrnochime on 9/17/2008 2:58:57 AM , Rating: 2
A person is held responsible for whatever is said or done out in public, be it intentional or not. Facebook/myspace are wide open to public too, so they're not any different from other public places like restaurant/shops.
By your reasoning, references from your colleagues should not be valid either as there's no way to ascertain their validity, short of a lie detector test.


RE: What does this tell us...
By johnadams on 9/17/2008 8:21:10 AM , Rating: 2
Good point.

The issue though is that on the Internet, it is difficult to verify people's identity. Anyone could be impersonated easily because its just a matter of an online handle or text.

Unless the person makes a clear video of himself smoking pot and puts it on youtube... Sounds nonsensical but in this world we live in, sure why not.

References are usually accompanied with contact details and HR may do further investigation to verify the validity of the reference.

Having said all that, its really up to the guy doing the hiring. I know some companies don't even verify what the candidate state in the resume is completely true. They just take it as it is, do a short interview and you're hired! I had heard of bodyshop companies doing that. The pay is dirt naturally. Depends on the supply for the position I guess.

So
if Goldman Sachs is going to hire a new CEO to run its business, HR better damn well be sure that the person they're hiring to do the job doesn't have a blog somewhere with stuff like pirated mp3s and porn.


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