Employers peek: It’s not just YourSpace, you know

Chicago, Illinois – Be careful what you post on your Facebook page: almost half of employers are now using social networking sites to screen job applicants.

According to CareerBuilder, the number of organisations dscreening candidates in this way has doubled to 45 percent in the last year. Another 11 percent plan to start soon.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace. Eleven percent search blogs, while seven percent follow candidates on Twitter.

The industries most likely to screen job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines include information technology (63 percent) and professional and business services (53 percent).

Job seekers are cautioned to be careful. Thirty-five percent of employers reported having found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top no-nos were provocative or inappropriate photographs or information, at 53 percent, and content about drinking or using drugs, at 44 percent.

But there were other killer postings, such as bad-mouthing a previous employer, co-workers or clients, at 35 percent, and poor communication skills at 29 percent. Discriminatory comments damned 26 percent.

Fourteen percent of employers even disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face, while 16 percent dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an email or job application.

“Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and promote your personal brand across the Internet,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications.”
 More than 2,600 hiring managers participated in the survey.