More Employers Than Ever Using Social Media to Screen Candidates


Would you want a potential employer to see everything you have on your social media pages? If not, you better start cleaning up your profiles fast — 70 percent of employers report that they use social media to screen candidates before hiring them.

The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder, highlights how far social recruiting has come. Just last year, only 60 percent of employers used social media to research candidates, and nine years ago it was just 11 percent. Plus, 30 percent of employers have a position dedicated to social recruiting.

“Most workers have some sort of online presence today– and more than half of employers won’t hire those without one,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said. “This shows the importance of cultivating a positive online persona. Job seekers should make their professional profiles visible online and ensure any information that could negatively impact their job search is made private or removed.”

What they’re looking at

Most employers (61 percent) are looking at candidates’ social media pages for information that supports their qualifications for the job. Fifty percent are checking to see if candidates have an online presence, and 57 percent say they are less likely to call someone for an interview if they can’t find them online. But they’re not just using social networking sites in their online research — 69 percent use a search engine to find additional information about a candidate. They’re even looking to see what others are posting about you (37 percent).

What they find may stop them from hiring you

More than half of employers (54 percent) have found something on social media that deterred them from hiring a candidate. The reasons include:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39 percent
  • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38 percent
  • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32 percent
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30 percent
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
  • Candidate had poor communication skills: 27 percent
  • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26 percent
  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers: 23 percent
  • Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional: 22 percent
  • Candidate lied about an absence: 17 percent
  • Candidate posted too frequently: 17 percent

Social media can work in your favor too

While social media can hinder your chances at a job, it can also influence someone to hire you.

  • 38 percent have found information that supported the candidate’s professional qualifications
  • 37 percent have discovered that the candidate is a great communicator
  • 36 percent liked the professional image a candidate projected on social media
  • 35 percent discovered a candidate’s creativity on their social media pages

Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you’re safe

People who have a job and aren’t job searching should still keep a close eye on their social profiles — 51 percent of employers said they use social media to research current employees. And over one-fourth (34 percent) have found something that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

What can you do?

If you’re looking for a job, make sure your social media pages are professional and project an image you are comfortable with potential employers seeing.  Remove the boozy late-night pics, untoward posts, and anything else you wouldn’t want your boss to see. And, most importantly, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date — 87 percent of employers use the professional networking site to find and vet candidates.

Start your job search with us

If you’re looking for a new job, we can help. For more than 30 years, Morgan Hunter has helped professionals like you land interviews and get hired by some of the best companies in Kansas City. Check out our current openings or contact us today to find out how we can help you land the job you want.