Who doesn't know yet that employers peruse social networking sites to find out more about potential new hires? Who doesn't know that a negative online person could stall a job search?
Apparently some jobseekers still don't.
I did a career session today for a lively group of athletes. A quick, show-of-hands indicated that close to 90% of the group had at least one of the three big social networking sites - YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. I asked the group, "What would your YouTube, MySpace or Facebook account tell an employer about you?"
The responses ranged from laughter to teasing and heckling each other. I suspect many of them, as friends, knew what was on each others' accounts. A few participants asked more seriously, "Why are they looking at your private, personal stuff?"
After we discussed briefly what "private" really means on the internet, I could see light bulbs going off and faces changing. I shared some of the latest survey details from Career Builder that showed that 22% of recruiters are using social networking sites to research candidates. This actually represents a 100% increase since 2006 when only 11% were using these sites.
Nine percent of recruiters said that even though they currently do not use social networking sites to screen job seekers, they planned to start soon.
I shared that jobseekers should also know that 34% of those recruiters who looked at these social networking sites, found information that caused them to discard a candidate from the pool of possible hires. Of course there is no guarantee that a recruiter is not using their own personal bias to make the decision. The fact is, these social networking sites could stand between a job seeker and a new career.
Here are some of the major concerns hiring managers noted as they checked up on candidates online:
41% - posted information about them drinking or using drugs
40% - posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
29% - had poor communication skills
28% - bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
27% - lied about qualifications
22% - used discriminatory remarks related to race, gender, religion, etc.
22% - screen name was unprofessional
21% - was linked to criminal behavior
19% - shared confidential information from previous employers
I think many of the young professionals in my session, left thinking about how to clean up what employers might consider their negative online personas.
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-Using Social Networking to Kickstart Your Career