With people spending more and more time out of their day on social networking the amount of personal information that a person unravels on websites such as Facebook and Twitter is unprecedented.

But how can social media serve a purpose in the recruitment industry?


A recent study conducted by Reppler and Lab 42, found that out of 300 employers, 91%  had used social media platforms as a way of screening applicants.

Out of these 76% used Facebook, 53% used Twitter and interestingly, 48% used LinkedIn; the lowest of all three considering that LinkedIn is considered to be the most professional network out of the three.

Out of the 91% that confirmed using the social media screening process, 61% of employers had claimed that they have actually rejected applicants on the basis of what they found on their social pages.


Thankfully the study also investigated the reasons for these rejections and interestingly enough, the biggest reason for rejection out of everything was at the 13% of employers who found that the applicants had lied about their qualifications through visiting their social website; it’s one thing to lie about a qualification but it is another thing altogether to get caught out by your Facebook profile.

The study also found that inappropriate photographs, comments, discussion about previous employment and poor verbal communication were all reasons that employers rejected applicants, with each reason being found with an 11% consistency.

Use of drugs (10%), discriminatory comments (10%) and applicants disclosing confidential information about previous employers (7%) were also reasons that employers rejected applicants after viewing their social pages.

All of these issues could have been avoided by simply tinkering with the privacy settings which can be found on each person’s profile.


The Good on Social Media Screening

For those who are currently applying for jobs, the news isn’t all bad as the study also found that 68% of employers had in fact hired applicants after viewing their social networking site.

Out of the 68%, a massive 39% hired because they thought that the person in question had shown evidence of an interesting personality; thus proving that you can find good talent outside of your network and referrals.

Besides this, 39% of employers hired because their profiles had supported their given qualifications, 33% had shown good communication skills and 36% had shown evidence of relative creativity within their profiles.

What matters is how honest and also how well you have represented your personality through your social media presence and conversations. It is all about exhibiting maturity in managing a public online portfolio. The basic work ethics are respected and valued by all – keep this in mind when you get a chance next time to review your online footprints.


WHEN do Hiring Managers perform an Online Screening

What is also interesting is when exactly the employers decided to screen the applicants. In fact 47% of employers screened applicant’s only moments after receiving their applications whilst another 27% did so after an initial conversation with the prospective member of staff.

Perhaps most crucially though, is the 4% of employers who screened just moments before making the offer; an invisible make or break decision for anyone who is possibly just within reach of attaining the job.


Is Using Social Networking to Screen Job Applicants a Good Idea? What do you say?

2012 Monster Hiring Survey – An infographic by the team at HR.BLR.com