You’re hardly the only person who’s ever Google-stalked a crush or scoured a future employer’s Facebook page. In fact, there’s a really good chance that the person or the company has done exactly the same reconnaissance on you.
What they find can have a profound impact on your relationship (or potential relationship) with them. Which is to say: The “real you,” or your personal brand, now encompasses your behaviour in face-to-face interactions and your behaviour online.
Below, Business Insider has rounded up five examples of times when you might be judged — fairly or unfairly — based on your online presence.
That's according to a 2016 CareerBuilder survey of 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals. It's a meaningful increase from the previous year, when the survey found that 52% of employers reported using social media to screen candidates.
Meanwhile, 59% of employers said they use search engines to research candidates.
Interestingly, just 21% of employers surveyed said they're looking for reasons to disqualify the candidates, such as information about those candidates drinking or using drugs. Most employers -- 60% -- are looking for something that supports their qualifications, such as a professional portfolio.
Remember, too: You're hardly out of the woods once you get hired somewhere. As many as 41% of employers in the CareerBuilder survey said they use social media to research current employees -- and 26% have found something that's caused them to reprimand or dismiss an employee.
And 38% of men say they do the same, according to a 2013 survey by online dating site Match.
If something unsavoury does come up, 49% of women and 27% of men say it would motivate them to the cancel the date.
Some people seem to have caught on -- just over a quarter of single men and women say they have cleaned up or would clean up their Facebook profile before accepting a friend request from someone they were interested in.
A 2015 survey organised by law firm Slater and Gordon found that one in five of the Facebook snoopers ended up fighting about what they found -- and one in seven have considered divorce because of it.
Distressing findings, according to the survey, included contact with an ex-partner, secret correspondence, and inappropriate photos.
As Andrea Newbury, head of family law at Slater and Gordon, said in a release:
'Five years ago Facebook was rarely mentioned in the context of a marriage ending, but now it has become common place for clients to cite social media use, or something they discovered on social media, as a reason for divorce.'
Education company Kaplan recently surveyed 365 colleges across the United States and found that 35% said they'd checked out an applicant's activity on networks including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about them. (Interestingly, that number is down from 40% the year prior.)
About half of those colleges said they'd found something that boosted the applicant's chances -- for example, one student had won an award and posted a photo of her with her school principal.
But about half of those colleges said they'd found something that hurt the applicant's chances -- for example, one student had posted a picture of him 'brandishing weapons.'
'This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don't seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves,' David Houghton said in a release.
The findings are based on a 2013 study led by Houghton, a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, and his colleagues.
As Ben Marder, another author on the study, put it: 'Be cautious when sharing and think how it will be perceived by all the others who may see it. Although sharing is a great way to better relationships, it can also damage them.'
This is an update of an article originally posted by Judith Aquino and Kim Bhasin.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.