Hiring Managers Reveal Social Media Finds on Candidates

Slightly more than a third of companies (37%) use social media networks to research job candidates.

Of the employers who do not use social media to research candidates , 15% said their company prohibits the practice, a CareerBuilder survey found. Eleven percent report they do not currently use social media for screening, but plan to start doing so.

What Hiring Managers Are Searching 

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 said:

•  To see if the candidate presents himself/herself professionally (65%);

•  To see if the candidate is a good fit for the company culture (51%);

•  To learn more about the candidate’s qualifications (45%);

•  To see if the candidate is well-rounded (35%); and

•  To look for reasons not to hire the candidate (12%).  



Does Social Media Help or Hurt Job Candidates?

A third of hiring managers (34%) who research candidates using social media said they have found information that has prevented them from hiring a candidate. That content ranges from evidence of inappropriate behavior to information that contradicted their listed qualifications:

•  Candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos or info (49%);

•  There was evidence about the candidate drinking or using drugs (45%);

•  Candidate had poor communication skills (35%);

•  Candidate made negative comments about  a previous employer (33%);

•  Candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender or  religion (28%); and

•  Candidate lied about qualifications (22%).

Screening for red flags is one a reason for social media research, but employers are also looking for information that could potentially give a job seeker an advantage. Three in 10 hiring managers (29%) said they have found something that has caused them to hire a candidate, citing content that showed them the following:

•  Good feel for candidate’s personality (58%);

•  Conveyed a professional image (55%);

•  Background information supported professional qualifications  (54%);

•  Well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests (51%);

•  Great communication skills (49%);

•  Candidate was creative (44%); and

•  Other people posted positive references about the candidate (34%).

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,303 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government) between February 9 and March 2, 2012.