For some time, I have been hearing rumors that corporate human resources departments are using social media sites like Facebook and MySpace to evaluate job candidates. Turns out, this rumor is true.
In a study by CareerBuilder.com released in September, 22% of the 3,100 hiring managers reported that they used social media sites to check out candidates. This is an increase from 11% reported in 2006. Even more interesting, 34% of the hiring managers who use social media eliminated candidates because of what they found online. Before you go out to delete your MySpace or Facebook account, the news is not all bad. A full 24% of the hiring managers selected candidates because of what they found online.
This means that you must look at your social media participation the same way that a potential hiring manager looks at it. Your transparency online could land you the job, or be the deciding factor that eliminates you from the job. Here are some guidelines they provided for things to avoid in your online persona.
- References to drinking and drug use
- Sexual content
- Derogatory comments about previous employers or co-workers
- Poor communication skills
Here are some examples of what hiring managers liked to see in your online persona:
- great communication skills
- professional image
- evidence that you are a good fit for the company’s culture
- great references from others
CareerBuilder offers the following advice:
- Clean up your social media presence before you start your job search
- Update your presence regularly, and include all awards and recognition
- Monitor comments made by other people
- Be selective about the groups you join
The bottom line: You can use your social media presence to your benefit if you take the time to consider how you look to a potential employer or client, and monitor your presence with that goal in mind.
Updated 11-20-2008: Teachers in Charlotte, NC face disciplinary actions for things found on their Facebook pages.