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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 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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Neutral on this
By Jay2tall on 9/16/2008 9:32:22 AM , Rating: 2
I do not think it is a low for companies to do a little research on perspective employees at all. Companies are shopping for the best candidate for a position that will be reliable, trustworthy, and have character. Just like if you are researching what TV to purchase. If you read reviews somewhere that are bad or if the company itself has posted statements such as recalls or defective products. Do you want to buy from them? NO, so why is there anything wrong with a company who will toss your resume in the trash if they see you posting items on your personal page, that you have obviously consented to be public? If I am looking for a professional individual I am not going to hire someone who posts pictures of them self drunk at a party with girls, or guys, hanging all over him or her. Or someone what posts HATE images or talks bad about a former employer.

I think the HR departments that do this sort of search are looking for more of a professional candidate. A blue collar factory worker is not going to get this sort of filtering. I would assume this is more of a white collar professional position that requires a certain image be present.

Now on the flip side of things, and even though this article only states this is for position candidates, I do not believe this sort of criteria can be used to fire someone. With the exception of posting company or trade secrets, or bad mouthing the company. I think this is a valid filtering method for resumes and candidates, however should not be grounds for dismissing a current employee that is already hired. UNLESS they have posted items that are grounds for termination. Such as company or trade secrets, or bad mouthing the company. All of which would be equivalent to stating verbally with someone else. This information is public and can be used against you. A current employee should not be allowed to be terminated if they find drunken pictures of you or even if you have satanic hate images on your page. As long as they are not linked with your place of employment, you are free and clear.

RE: Neutral on this
By rtrski on 9/16/2008 9:47:33 AM , Rating: 2
Kind of depends. Some jobs require clearances of a certain type (security, financial, or otherwise) which come with a responsibility to not just "get" cleared, but to stay free of any sort of "compromisable circumstances". Anything that could be indicative of a lack of control, financial or emotional distress that could be leveraged, or otherwise give some outside party a handle with which to manipulate you, could indeed be grounds for revocation of said clearances, after which if the job required it, sayonara.

Granted the bloke who blogs about his extramarital affairs is probably not blackmailable after posting about it publicly("we'll tell your wife!"..."go ahead, see those nasty responses on the blog? those are from her!"), but it still may constitute "adverse information" and it is indeed the responsibility of the vetting agency to at least re-interview the individual when such comes to light, and make a determination of the risk they present at that point.

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