Hiring Managers Admit to Surfing Job Seekers’ Social Media Profiles

Sure, this may sound pretty obvious but in a recent survey, hiring managers admitted to browsing job seekers’ social media profiles.

According to a new survey conducted by CareerBuilder, approximately 37 percent of companies surveyed said they research job candidates on various social networking sites. Although 11 percent indicated they don’t currently check out online identities, they’re going to start.

Keep in mind the results aren’t specific to media companies since the survey encompassed over 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals in various industries.

What exactly are they looking to find? It sounds like they want to evaluate a job seeker’s character and personality outside the interview room. In other words, they want to figure out what they’re really like. They’re relying on Facebook and LinkedIn; a small percentage relies on Twitter.

Results in the survey showed that 65 percent of the hiring managers wanted to see if the candidate presented him or herself professionally. As for why others took to the various sites to find out more information? More than half wanted to find out if the job seeker is culturally a fit and approximately 35 percent wanted to find out if the candidate is well-rounded. Although 12 percent of hiring managers specifically went online to find reasons to pull the plug on a candidate’s chance of getting an offer, one-third of the hiring managers ended up finding information that was less than flattering and resulted in not moving forward with a candidate.

Examples included posting inappropriate photos, information about a candidate drinking or using drugs, and a candidate simply demonstrating poor communication skills. Other major no-no’s for social media profiles include bad mouthing former employers, making discriminatory comments, and lying about his or her qualifications.

On the other side of the coin, almost one-third of hiring managers indicated they found something online that was ultimately positive and pushed them to extending the job offer. Almost 60 percent got a really good sense for the candidate’s personality and almost the same percentage mentioned a professional image was also a reason to hire. Other enticing information included being well-rounded and showing a wide range of interests, demonstrating solid communication skills, reading glowing references about the candidate, and noticing that background information supported professional qualifications as outlined on the resume.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, pointed out job seekers end up revealing their personas via their online public profiles. That said, it’s important to be cognizant about what you post and make public.

In the press release she indicated, “If you choose to leave social media content public, tailor the message to your advantage. Filter out anything that can tarnish your professional reputation and post communications, links and photos that portray you in the best possible light.”