More Employers Rejecting Candidates Because of Social Media

It’s no secret that an unflattering social media profile can torpedo your job search and indeed your whole career, and new data from a survey of employers by CareerBuilder confirms that more employers are passing on candidates because of ill-judged social media content.

CareerBuilder surveyed 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,022 workers, ages 18 and over. Overall, 43% of employers are now using social media to research candidates, up from 39% in 2013 and 36% in 2012. Among employers that use social media to research candidates, 51% said they have found content that caused them to reject a candidate, up from 43% in 2013 and 34% in 2012. Crunching the numbers, that means 22% of all employers have rejected candidates based on social media, up from 17% in 2013 and 12% in 2012. 

Further, 12% of employers don’t currently research candidates on social media but plan to start. Meanwhile, 45% of employers are using search engines to research potential candidates, and 12% look at comments the candidate has made on, and other ratings sites.

Turning to specific reasons, among employers that had rejected candidates on the basis of social media content, 46% cited provocative or inappropriate photographs or information; 41% information about the candidate drinking or using drugs; 36% badmouthing previous companies or fellow employees; 32% poor communication skills; 28% discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, and so on; 25% lying about their qualifications; 24% sharing confidential information from previous employers; 22% content linking them to criminal behavior; 21% unprofessional screen names; and 13% lying about an absence.

On the positive side, 33% of employers who research candidates said they found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate, and 23% said they found content that directly led them to hiring the candidate (up from 19% in 2013). Among employers with a positive reaction to social media content, 46% said they got a good feel for the candidate’s personality, 45% said the information they found supported the professional qualifications, 43% liked the professional image, and 40% cited good communication skills.

Now for the fun part! CareerBuilder also surveyed employers about the weirdest things they’ve found on social media profiles, and were informed of all kinds of oddities. The list include a profile that posted a photo of his own arrest warrant; an exercise video for grandmothers; information indicating candidate was suing his wife for shooting him in the head; a pig as best friend; dental exam results; information revealing candidate was actively involved in a demonic cult; and Sasquatch photos.

It’s a crazy world out there.

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