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article imageMore than half of UK employers research job candidates online

By Gemma Fox     Jan 17, 2010 in Technology
Applying for a new job? Then be careful about what you write on your social networking profile. Research shows that what you display on sites like Facebook can influence a potential employer's decision about taking you on.
Job search website CareerBuilder.co.uk recently compiled the results of their research which shows that 53 percent of UK employers check out their potential employees on line before hiring them.
While 43 percent of those polled said they relied on search engines to provide them with information on their potential employee, 12 percent also said they checked sites like Facebook and 12 percent said they checked sites like LinkedIn.
Out of those polled who don't already check up said that they intended to start checking job candidates social networking sites before they considered hiring them.
The research found that two in five of employers had decided to not hire someone based on content they had found on their social networking profile.
One third of employers found that some job candidates profiles had shown that they had lied in the CV about their qualifications. A put off for 13 percent of employers was finding discriminatory comments on the sites they checked and 9 percent said they found inappropriate or provocative content and photographs on potential employees profiles.
Farhan Yasin, president of CareerBuilder said, "Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities in 2010 and promote your personal brand across the internet. Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications."
Employees shouldn't become complacent after securing a new position however. CareerBuilder research also shows that 28 percent of employers had had to sack an employee because of content found on this social networking profile. Two in four of those employers said that the reason for the employee being fired was because the comments found on their profiles were negative towards the company or another employee in the company.
Similar research by CareerBuilder in the USA last year found that 45 percent of employers there searched out potential employees on line through sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and through personal blogs.
Reasons for not employing people after researching them online included comments on profiles about using drugs or heavy drinking, negative comments about previous employers, colleagues or clients, poor communication skills and discrimination.
On the upside though, some potential employees chances of being employed had been enhanced after employers had checked out their social profile. In those cases good communication skills had been shown, candidates appeared well-rounded, employers general feeling from the profile was that the candidate had the personality they were looking for and employers found that potential employees received awards and that the profile supported the qualification information given by the candidate.
Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, Rosemary Haefner offers the following advice about keeping a positive image in your social networking profile:
1)DO clean up digital dirt BEFORE you begin your job search. Remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.
2)DO consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook or BrightFuse.com to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.
3)DO keep gripes offline. Keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.
4)DON’T forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the “block comments” feature or setting your profile to “private” so only designated friends can view it.
5)DON’T mention your job search if you’re still employed.
More about Employer, Social Networking, Facebook, Linkedin
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