During the process of hiring a new employee, do you ever look at social media profiles as part of background research? If you answered affirmatively, you are not alone.
Nearly two in five companies (37 percent) use social networking sites to research job candidates, according to a new survey from human capital firm CareerBuilder. Of the employers who do not research candidates on social media, 15 percent said their company prohibits the practice. Eleven percent of respondents said they do not currently use social media to screen, but plan to start.
The nationwide survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive from February 9 to March 2, 2012, included more than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes.
According to the research, hiring managers are using social media to evaluate candidates' character and personality outside the confines of the traditional interview process. When asked why they use social networks to conduct background research, hiring managers stated the following:
- To see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally – 65 percent
- To see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture – 51 percent
- To learn more about the candidate's qualifications – 45 percent
- To see if the candidate is well-rounded – 35 percent
- To look for reasons not to hire the candidate – 12 percent
"Because social media is a dominant form of communication today, you can certainly learn a lot about a person by viewing their public, online personas," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "However, hiring managers and human resources departments have to make a careful, determined decision as to whether information found online is relevant to the candidates' qualifications for the job."
A third (34 percent) of hiring managers who currently research candidates via social media said they have found information that has caused them not to hire a candidate. That content ranges from evidence of inappropriate behavior to information that contradicted their listed qualifications.
Employers are primarily using Facebook (65 percent) and LinkedIn (63 percent) to research candidates; 16 percent use Twitter, according to the research.