We’ve already seen parents invade Facebook
, now employers are getting in on the act.
A 2016 CareerBuilder survey found that 60% of employers research job candidates on social media. That’s eight percentage points up from last year, and a staggering 49 percentage points up from when the annual social media recruitment survey first began in 2006.
Bosses in certain industries are more likely to check a candidate’s profile. IT, for instance, leads the pack with 76% of employers screening job seekers on social media, trailed by sales (65%), financial services (61%), and healthcare and retail (tied at 59%).
The survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll between February 10 and March 17 among 2,186 hiring managers and 3,031 full time workers, discovered that six in ten employers say they approach candidates’ profiles “looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job.” Most are searching for a professional online persona, so ensure your LinkedIn’s up to date.
While CareerBuilder asserts that “most hiring managers aren’t intentionally looking for negatives,” 49% of hiring managers who research candidates on social media say they have not hired a candidate based on social media presence. Plus, 21% of managers admit to actively looking for reasons not to hire you.
Want to make sure your fire tweets and sweet posts aren’t jeopardizing your job search? Here are some precautions to take (most of it’s just common sense):
- Make sure your profiles are free of provocative, inappropriate content (a big turn off for 46% of employers)
- Put away the keg and the drug paraphernalia (43% of hiring managers didn’t want to see evidence of candidates drinking or using drugs)
- Don’t be a bigot (about a third of bosses don’t want to hire someone who spews discriminatory speech online)
- Don’t bad-mouth your old boss (31% of respondents marked that as a red flag)
- Watch your writing (29% of employers watch for poor communication skills on social media)
Before you panic and lock down all your social media settings, keep this in mind: over two in five employers say they’re less likely to interview people that they’re unable to research online. Plus, over a third of employers who’ve encountered candidates with private accounts have attempted to friend said candidates. Candidate-employer friend acceptance rates declined to 68% in 2016 — down 12 percentage points from last year.
Plus, the news isn’t all bad. In fact, slightly over a third of employers who screen job seekers using social media say they have discovered content that increased their interest in a candidate.
If you’re hoping to boost your chances of getting hired, make sure:
- your profiles support your job qualifications and convey a professional image (44% of employers liked to see that);
- you strive to project a personality that will mesh well with the company (43% of hiring managers wanted to see this);
- you demonstrate a wide range of interests (one in four bosses looked for that);
- and you showcase your awesome communication skills (36% of hiring managers wanted to see strong writing. abilities).
CareerBuilder chief human resources officer Rosemary Haefner says that it’s important for job seekers to remember their social media presence is available for public viewing.
“This doesn’t necessarily mean a potential employee should be worried, but they should definitely be cautious and aware of their own internet reputation before applying to any jobs,” Haefner said. “A job seeker should ensure that all work experience, skills and portfolios are consistent across every social network — as employers easily identify inconsistencies and could question your qualifications.”
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