Job applicants should be careful about what’s posted on their social media accounts.
More than one-third of companies (36%) surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said they have disqualified job applicants because of information obtained through social networks, such as posts that reference inappropriate or even illegal activity.
Just 39% of employers give job applicants an opportunity to explain the matter of concern.
Social media is a handy tool for employers and recruiters to verify applicants’ work history and check other personal characteristics, SHRM Director of Programs Evren Esen said in a January 2016 press release.
Employers – and potential employees – are utilizing social media in a variety of ways throughout the job search process.
Since 2011, the number of organizations recruiting via social media has jumped from 56% to 84%, the SHRM survey found. In the most recent poll, an additional 9% of respondents said they plan to add social media recruitment.
Two-thirds of organizations said they are also targeting smartphone users for mobile recruiting by making sure their career websites, job postings and application process are in friendly formats for the now ubiquitous devices.
This isn’t the first survey to explore the growing use of social media for job recruiting; not only to find good candidates, but to weed out bad ones, a practice that also is raising new legal questions.
Employers responding to a survey by online job site CareerBuilder said they would be tempted to disqualify candidates who posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, discriminatory comments or information about drinking or drug use, as well as applicants who bad-mouthed previous employers or employees online.
That 2015 survey also found that more than one-third of employers are less likely to interview job applicants who don’t have an online presence.
At the same time, many state lawmakers have been considering legislation prohibiting employers from requiring employees or job candidates to provide access to their social media accounts.
In a 2015 survey by SHRM and Ascendo Resources, employers pointed out some key points for applicants to keep in mind about their social media accounts. These include:
LinkedIn is the most popular social media network for recruiting, according to the latest SHRM survey, with 96% of respondents saying they use the world’s largest professional networking site.
Nearly three-quarters of companies said LinkedIn is the “most effective” site for recruitment. But Facebook and Twitter have gained ground in recent years, and are used by 66% and 53% of recruiters, respectively.