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Job seekers: Clean up your social media sites

Job seekers: clean up your social media posts
Job seekers: clean up your social media posts
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As more employers use social networking sites to check job candidate backgrounds, more job candidates are being turned down because of their social media content. In a report dated June 26, 2014, CareerBuilder found forty-three percent of employers use social media to research candidates and another 12 percent plan to start doing so. That is a big increase from the 34 percent of survey respondents who used social media in 2012.

Employers are finding good and bad

Over half of those surveyed, or 51 percent, have rejected job candidates because of something they found on social media. On the other hand, exactly one third of employers are finding that favorable content will influence them positively to hire a job aspirant.

Inappropriate use of social media

Employers report that social media posts that have caused them to reject candidates. See the frequency of employers rejecting candidates following each reason given below. Some survey respondents provided highly unusual examples of posts to illustrate the kinds of behaviors to avoid.

Provocative photos

Provocative or inappropriate photographs and information was the most frequent taboo. Nearly half of employers who screen on the Internet have nixed prospective workers. Many survey respondents gave unusual examples like photographs of Sasquatch, dental exams or an exercise video for grandmothers.

Inappropriate information

Unprofessional screen names will certainly sabotage bids for employment. Discriminatory comments related to race, gender and religion are to be avoided. Some of the more bizarre examples of inappropriate information provided by survey respondents include a guy having sued his wife for shooting him in the head, another showing a pig as his closest friend and another participating in a demonic cult.

Alcohol and drugs

Employers view reference to alcohol and drugs unfavorably. For example, bragging about avoiding arrest for drunken driving torpedoed one job aspirant.

Past employers and coworkers

Employment and social media are a dangerous combination. Employers have eliminated contenders for bad-mouthing their previous place of work or coworkers. Others vetoed job hopefuls for having shared confidential information about a previous employer. Surprisingly, many employers were able to find that a contender had lied about an absence.

Job skills

Using poor communication skills on the Internet is enough for some employers to shoot down a chance for a job. Some organizations found job candidates lied about qualifications.

Criminal behavior

Any reference to criminal behavior is taboo. For example, one candidate’s profile included links to an escort service. Another shared a photo of his arrest warrant.

Google yourself

Its not just the social media posts that employers look at to research candidates. Forty-five percent of employers Google their job candidates and almost half investigate all candidates on line.

About CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder sampled 2,138 employers and 3,022 workers from February 10 to March 4, 2014 from various industries and company sizes. CareerBuilder provides an online career site advertising more than 1 million jobs and researched by more than 24 million unique visitors.