OMG! You Mean Recruiters Really Do Screen Candidates Using Social Media?

Nov 8 2011 in Featured, Networking/Social Networking, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

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Think your social networking profiles don’t matter?

Guess again. shared an infographic that demonstrates just how often employers consider your social branding in the hiring process.

And it’s much more than just your profile. Employers check out what you say about others (including past employers), what others say about you, your lifestyle, your communications skills, consistency with your resume, and of course photos/videos that you’ve posted (or been tagged in).

I explored this topic last year, showing the disconnect between candidate expectations and employer reality in social media at .

Reality is pretty straightforward, as demonstrated by the article above and the infographic below – Employers use social media to decide who to hire and who to reject. Not just some employers, 91% of them. That’s right, 91%.

What does this mean for you? It means a carefully managed social brand gives you another way to prove to an employer that you are a superior candidate. On the other hand, a poorly managed social brand can give an employer many reasons to choose someone else.

This means that managing your social brand goes way beyond just scrubbing your profile to take out drinking/drug references and offensive statements, to get by the 69% of employers who rejected candidates based on social media. This study also shows that you can proactively increase your hireability by using social media to build subject matter expertise and add outside support that you are a superior (not just qualified, but superior) candidate – 68% of employers have made hiring decisions based on social media.

Even more telling, social media is as examined so early in the hiring process (almost 50% said they evaluate social media before an initial conversation), your social brand determines whether you even get interviews from half the employers out there. Social media doesn’t just gain or lose job opportunities for you, it gains or loses interviews chances for you.

Here’s why 69% of employers rejected candidates based on social media – reasons included:

  • 13% – Lied about their qualifications
  • 11% – Posted inappropriate photos
  • 11% – Posted inappropriate comments
  • 11% – Posted negative comments about previous employer
  • 11% – Demonstrated poor communications skills
  • 10% – Posted content about drug use
  • 10% – Made discriminatory comments
  • 9% – Posted contents about them drinking
  • 7% – Shared confidential information about prior employer
  • 7% – Never rejected a candidate because of information found on social media

None of these are that surprising … though it might make you think twice on re-editing posts, tweets or comments with typos. Maybe typing long posts from your iphone might not be such a great idea.

What might be a little more surprising – the reasons that 68% of respondents have hired based on what they saw on social media:

  • 39% – Gave positive impression of personality and fit
  • 36% – Profile supported professional qualifications
  • 36% – Profile showed candidate was creative
  • 33% – Showed solid communications skills
  • 33% – Profile showed candidate was well rounded
  • 34% – Profile showed strong references posted by others
  • 24% – Candidate received awards and accolades
  • 18% – Never hired candidate based on Social Media

Sure, employers are looking for backup of what you say on your resume. But look at all the other ways that your social brand can get you hired. Demonstrating the positive aspects of your personality, your office appropriate sense of humor, creativity, communications skills, outside activities/community involvement, and highlighting your references.

Check out the infographic below, demonstrating how employers are using social media to help them make hiring decisions:

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Infographic courtesy of, originally published on

How well does your social brand, your Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter presence (Google+ also) paint you as a superior candidate? Or does it just demonstrate that you’re merely qualified, like hundreds of others?

If you were the employer, would you choose a candidate that used social media to demonstrate that they were a superior candidate … over candidates who presented themselves as qualified?


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