What not to do on social media

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It seems that candidates’ social media profiles are doing more harm than good, according to CareerBuilder’s latest survey on the subject.* And the most common faux-pas that candidates commit online is that of posting provocative or inappropriate images.

Almost two in five companies (39%) research job candidates on social networking sites (up from 37% last year), and around two in five (43%) of hiring managers who do so have found material that convinced them not to hire a candidate (up from 34% last year).

Hiring managers and HR professionals who responded to the survey indicated that there was a variety of content that caused them to reject a candidate, including inappropriate behaviour and information that contradicted their listed qualifications:


  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs or information (50%)
  • Information about the candidate drinking or taking drugs (48%)
  • Criticism of a previous employer (33%)
  • Poor communication skills (30%)
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion etc. (28%)
  • Evidence that the candidate had lied about his or her qualifications (24%)


On the other hand, less than half as many (19%) employers noted that they had come across information on social media sites that made a candidate more attractive or confirmed their decision to hire them.

“Employers are using all the tools available to them to assure they make the correct hiring decision, and the use of social media continues to grow,” Rosemary Haefner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder, said. “[However,] hiring managers and human resources departments must carefully consider how to use information obtained from social media and whether it is relevant to a candidate’s qualifications,” she added.

*The survey was conducted online in the US by Harris Interactive (on behalf of CareerBuilder). More than 2,100 hiring managers and HR professionals participated in the survey between February 11 and March 6 of this year.


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