1 in 3 Companies Reject Candidates Due to Social Media

There has been a lot of talk and debate recently about just how much weight companies put on social media when considering candidates for their open positions—specifically, how much companies are using social media to SCREEN potential hires.
Well, thanks to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, we have a better idea of the situation.
The nationwide survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive from February 9 to March 2, included more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across all industries and company sizes.  The results of that survey revealed a great many things.  Two of those things are as follows:

  1. Thirty-seven percent (37%) of respondents use social media and social networking sites to research job candidates.
  2. Thirty-four percent (34%) of hiring managers who research candidates through social media indicated that they’ve found information causing them to NOT hire a candidate.

This should provide a wake-up call for candidates, if they’re not already awake when it comes to how their Internet presence affects their career.  That’s especially the case if you look at the reasons that respondents gave as to why they screened a candidate out because of what they found on social media:

  • The candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos or information—49%
  • There was information about the candidate drinking or using drugs—45%
  • The candidate had poor communication skills—35%
  • The candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer—33%
  • The candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.—28%
  • The candidate lied about their qualifications—22%

What do you think?  Are these good reasons to disqualify a candidate?  Should hiring managers use social media sites like Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter to screen candidates?  Do your clients use this technique?  Do YOU use this technique?

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(Matt Deutsch, the Communications Coordinator at Top Echelon, is a regular contributor to the Top Echelon Recruiter Training Blog.)
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Views: 2041

Comment by Christopher Lyon on April 23, 2012 at 9:03am

I work mostly in the IT field so I really don't necessarily use this unless I am recruiting for a client facing position and the candidate has poor speaking skills. I do know of other recruiters in the Healthcare industry who will look at a person's Facebook photo/profile and decide whether or not to send the candidate on an interview. 

Comment by Ryder Cullison on April 23, 2012 at 11:43am

I would disqualify a candidate only if the material was exceptionally offensive.  I could be walking around at a wedding reception holding two glasses of wine for friends of mine when someone suddenly snaps a photo of me while I'm at mid-blink.  You know what I'm talking about.  The kind of photo where the lens captures your eyes right when you're blinking and you look either drunk or stoned.  Then that friend uploads the picture and tags me in it so suddenly the photo is not just in their album but also in mine and I'm unaware that has even happened.  Now I look like a big partying drunk when all I was doing was grabbing a couple of glasses of wine for someone.  This didn't actually happen to me but a similar scenario with a colleague.

I think when evaluating someone's social profile hiring managers need to scan only for illegal and exceptionally offensive behaviors.  The trick here is not to throw stones and disqualify someone for behaviors in which the hiring manager might frequently engage.

Comment by Saundra Lee on April 23, 2012 at 1:28pm

Social media is like a form of intoxication for some people. Just like someone will say things after a few glasses of wine that they would not say in an interview, people tend to just say WHATEVER is on their mind on Facebook and Twitter.  That is why I see it as a nice little window into what is on the inside.  For those that understand that, it can be a fantastic branding opportunity.  Job seekers should use social media for good vs. evil.

Comment by Greg Harrison on April 23, 2012 at 5:18pm

Social Media platforms provide great opportunities for candidates to get across to employers and recruiters exactly what they're like, beyond their CV. There are occasions when employers may not like what they find - photos on Facebook or comments on Twitter for example, but this is the age in which we live. Candidates should be suitably aware of what they post online, and should take appropriate steps to ensure they understand any privacy options available. That said, there are a number of sites which candidates do use to their advantage, and which recruiters take notice of.

Our site, ViewsOnYou – http://www.viewsonyou.com - allows individuals to build a profile of peer reviews to demonstrate what they’re really like, by the people who know them best, such as co-workers. While professional networking sites such as LinkedIn are about experience and qualifications, a ViewsOnYou profile allows individuals to highlight their soft skills; how they work, think and interact. Sales positions for example are often difficult to hire for because they depend on soft skills so much, rather than hard qualifications, and this gives a great opportunity for candidates to provide more information about themselves, which they could not do with a traditional CV.

Candidates are constantly being urged to use whatever tools available to promote themselves in (hopefully) a positive light, so it should be expected that hiring managers are checking whatever online media they can find about a potential employee.

Comment by Stephen Paredes on April 23, 2012 at 5:26pm

Personally I do not believe that recruiters should base any hiring decisions on social media platforms. Aside from many legal aspects, social media outlets were not designed to grade talent so recruiters should not utilize it as such a tool. If organizations want to grade talent then they should implement assessments such as Kenexa ProveIt into their interviewing process. There is a science behind the assessments that can tell you more about your candidates then their Facebook page

Comment by Bill Schultz on April 23, 2012 at 8:11pm

Key words there is Human Resource Professionals.  They've always been in the business of Disqualifying vs. Qualifying.  This is just another tool for them.   Meanwhile the hiring manager whose team is drained of energy because they are down 2 people, never gets to see the qualified candidate who had a glass of wine and posted a picture.  

Comment by Randall Scasny on April 28, 2012 at 3:18pm

At this point, social media hiring is completely unregulated. That will change. I know of at least instance where a Department of Justice lawyer is interviewing professionals and looking at the legality/discrimination going on throughout the online recruitment industry. At present, the law isn't written for social media "discrimination." I suspect in a decade that term will be expanded/redefined.


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