Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nearly 1 in 2 Companies Now Screen Social Media

This news coming from Mashable:

This according to research firm Harris Interactive, who was commissioned by and surveyed 2,667 HR professionals, finding that 45% of them use social networking sites to research job candidates, with an additional 11% planning to implement social media screening in the very near future.

According to the study, “thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate.” The big lessons you can learn are quite obvious, but bear repeating. Provocative photos and info are a bad idea (53% of employers won’t hire you), shared content with booze and drugs is also highly dangerous (44% dismissed candidates for this reason), and bad-mouthing former employers is very risky behavior (35% reported this a the main reason they didn’t hire a candidate).

We also think it interesting that emoticons, those friendly smiley faces you see everywhere, are actually big no-nos in direct communication. 14% of surveyed employers disregard candidates for that single lapse in judgment alone.

Though this may seem as a big downer for those of us who are oversharers, the reality is that there’s still opportunity to use your social presence to land that job. The survey also found that, “eighteen percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate.”

That’s not good news for most of us who use social networking a lot in our social lives. The key, though, is to make sure that if any content on your blog or Twitter or Facebook account makes you pause when you think whether a potential employer would be upset by it, it’s best to take it down (or, really, never put it up in the first place). There’s no reason to take a chance that some picture you took 5 years ago and posted to Facebook is going to come back to bite you in the butt.

From the Human Resources side, it is important to scan social media to see what your potential candidates are up to. You may see something that makes you feel very comfortable about hiring a potential candidate, but, more likely, you can find warning signs that maybe the person you are about to hire would not be a good fit for your company. If there are signs out there on the internet that a candidate may expose you to future lawsuits, it would almost be negligent not to have done the due dilligence beforehand. And would’t you like to know, the day after an interview, if the young man/woman you just interviewed posted something like this as their status message: “Had interveew yesterday. HR person aws lame! May take job for money but dont want it.”

Yeah…I think that would be worth finding out before you bring the person in.

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