Career Builder recently completed a survey of over 31,000 employers regarding the use of online tools and social media in hiring. This survey found that more than one in five employers search social networking sites to screen job candidates Of the hiring managers who use social networks, one-third said they found information on such sites that caused them to toss the candidate out of consideration for a job.
The study found that the number of hiring managers that are turning to social networks like MySpace and Facebook to delve into candidates' online behavior is increasing quickly. Roughly 22% of employers said they already review social networks to screen candidates, while an additional 9% said they are planning to do so. This is a big jump from the 11% of managers that used the technology in 2006.
What are they looking for?
Employers don’t usually search with the hopes of finding something negative about you. In fact, the opposite is true- they’re looking to confirm the information on your resume and hoping to find more proof that you’re a good candidate who really can help their company. However, employers can’t predict how their search will end. Employers in the survey listed these items as reasons they have chosen NOT to pursue the candidate:
· Information about alcohol or drug use (41% of managers said this was a top concern)
· Inappropriate photos or information posted on a candidate’s page (40%)
· Poor communication skills (29%)
· Bad-mouthing of former employers or fellow employees (28%)
· Inaccurate qualifications (27%)
· Unprofessional screen names (22%)
· Notes showing links to criminal behavior (21%)
· Confidential information about past employers (19%)
Take Preventative Action
Google yourself and see what comes up. Do you find things that support your resume? Are there things that your friends would find amusing but an employer would not? It's no longer enough to have a great resume and a good interview. Employers are able to check for themselves just by typing your name into a search engine. Even a series of great references can't mask you from the power of a Google search. Here are some things to consider.
The internet is public domain. If you post something on the internet, it’s no longer a private thought or comment. Everything on the Internet can be found if someone is really determined to find it. Google caches (keeps copies of) websites for months and the Internet Archive keeps copies of web pages for years.
People can’t find what isn’t there. Keep the above list of employer concerns in mind whenever you comment, blog, post a video, upload pictures of yourself or contribute to the Internet in any other way.
Google yourself before you send in a resume. See what employers will discover about you before deciding whether or not to give you a call. Search for you name on Google, Yahoo, and any social networks that are popular for you and your friends.
A little cleanup goes a long way. Once you know which results employers will see, clean up any sites that will leave a negative impression and improve the sites that will leave a positive one. For example, clean up your profiles on the social networks that you use or have used in the past. The order these sites appear in the search results is the way to determine priorities.