Not having a Facebook page, Twitter handle or personal website could mean not getting that new job.
A survey by the online job site CareerBuilder found that more than one-third of employers are less likely to interview job applicants who don’t have an online presence. Just over half of employers, 52%, said they scout candidates through social networking sites. That’s up from 43% in 2014 and 39% in 2013.
Social media research has grown from “an emerging trend to a staple of online recruitment,” CareerBuilder’s Chief Human Resources Officer Rosemary Haefner said in a May 2015 news release.
Job seekers should make their information visible online, Haefner said. They also should make sure that any details that could scare off a potential employer are removed or made private.
But there’s a crosscurrent to this trend.
Lawmakers across the nation have been considering legislation that would prohibit employers from requiring employees or job candidates to provide access to their social media accounts. Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin were among the states that passed such laws in 2014.
Employers usually can require workers to provide passwords, usernames and other details for online accounts that are accessed as part of their duties, or seek details about locations workers visited in cyberspace via company computers.
Recruiters surveyed by CareerBuilder identified various types of online content that could lead them to disqualify candidates, including: discriminatory comments; inappropriate or provocative photographs; details about drug or alcohol use; and negative comments about previous employers or coworkers.
Nearly one-third of hiring managers and human resources managers also listed “poor communication skills” as a turnoff.
Among respondents, 48% said they had decided not to hire a candidate based on information found online. By comparison, 32% said they found information that prompted them to hire an applicant, including content that demonstrated creativity or professionalism or bolstered the candidate’s qualifications.
The survey also found that 35% of employers who use social media to screen applicants have made “friend” or “follow” requests of potential employees; the majority of those employers said applicants granted those requests.
The “friending” is going both ways, with job seekers tapping into social media to research potential employers and connect with HR administrators.
The CareerBuilder survey found that hiring managers in IT (76%), financial services (64%), sales (61%), and business and professional services (54%) were most likely to screen candidates through social media.