It used to be common during a job search for applicants to do preliminary research on different companies and touch up their résumés and cover letter – but recently, more hype has been focused on cleaning up social networking sites.
A careerbuilder.com study stated that out of 2,667 managers and human resource employers, 45 percent reported they used social networking sites to screen potential employees. This statistic was compared to the 22 percent of employers who screened potential employees the previous year, demonstrating more employers are using Internet sources to eliminate possible candidates. Eleven percent of the employers questioned planned on utilizing sites such as Facebook or Twitter to screen future applicants.
The report showed Facebook was the most used social networking site. Sequentially following were LinkedIn (26 percent), Myspace (21 percent) and Twitter (7 percent). The research also showed 11 percent of the profiles were viewed through blogging websites.
Because the job market has become increasingly demanding and competitive, it is important to be conscious of what is made public online. The damage to increasing job opportunities begins with a person’s online profile. When job hunting, a person’s Facebook profile can make or break the deal. In the careerbuilder.com study, 18 percent of employers said they found content on the social networking sites that incentivized hiring the candidate. The qualifications they searched for were: A character who fit the company / organization, well-rounded personality, quality communication skills and positive posts from others.
From the report, 35 percent of employers found content on the candidate’s profile that caused disinterest. A few examples of content discouraging employers included provocative and inappropriate photos / information, poor communication skills, discriminatory comments and sharing confidential information or defaming a previous employer.
Something to keep in mind when filling out a job application is to be confident all information and qualifications are true. From the report, 24 percent of candidates lied about their qualifications, causing them to not be hired. To remain competitive in the job field, be sure to not post fake content, derogatory comments about others or previous employers, or incriminating pictures. However, it is always a good idea to use the privacy settings that many of these websites offer, just to be on the safe side.