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11 reasons to reject a candidate based on social media

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Before hiring a candidate (or even calling them in for an interview) do you check their social media accounts?

According to a survey on more than 2,300 hiring managers and HR professionals conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring – up from 60% last year and 11% in 2006.

Employers aren’t just looking at social media – 69% are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well, compared to 59% last year.

These employers are looking for information in these four categories – information that support their qualifications for the job (61%), if the candidate has a professional online persona (50%), what other people are posting about the candidates (37%) and for a reason not to hire a candidate (24%).

The survey further revealed that more than half of employers (54%) have found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate for an open role. Here are 11 reasons why:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39%
  • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38%
  • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30%
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 27%
  • Candidate had poor communication skills: 27%
  • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26%
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 23%
  • Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22%
  • Candidate lied about an absence: 17%
  • Candidate posted too frequently: 17%

ALSO READ: 5 sure-fire ways to lose your job

Thankfully, the opposite is also true, 44% of employers have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. Among the primary reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social media profiles were candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications (38%), great communication skills (37%), a professional image (36%), and creativity (35%).

But what if a candidate doesn’t have social media accounts for you to snoop through? Will you still call them in for an interview?

More than half of employers (57%) revealed that they were less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job candidate online. Of that group, 36% said they like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview, while 25% expect candidates to have an online presence.

The survey further revealed that it is not only candidates who are subject to such scrutiny over social media. More than half of employers (51%) use social media sites to research current employees, and 34% of employers have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Some examples of staff being fired over comments on social media include:

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