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Great Resume and Interview. Now About Your Online Presence …

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You've checked a potential employee's resume, verified that the referrals are legit, and even did a face-to-face interview. Now should you check out their social presence, too?

According to a recent survey from Cross-Tab Marketing Services (commissioned from Microsoft),  recruiters and hiring managers are doing just that. Among the U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 85% of them said a positive online reputation influenced their hiring decision to some extent. And 70% of them have rejected candidates based on information found online.

The in-depth study examines:



  • how consumers, PR professionals, and recruiters view online reputations


  • how reputations impact whether a potential employee is hired


  • what candidates are doing to protect their information


  • what legal questions should be raised concerning appropriate information


U.S. recruiters and HR professionals tend to be the most active in checking online reputations: 89% find it appropriate to use professional online data to assess a potential employee. Plus, 84% consider personal information, too. However, what U.S. recruiters consider appropriate differs from what U.S. consumers believe . For example, 59% of recruiters and HR professionals are checking photo- and video-sharing sites. But only 15% of U.S. consumers think that's appropriate for companies to do so.

So what exactly are recruiters checking? Search engines (78%), social networking sites (63%), and photo- and video-sharing sites (59%) top the list. And once recruiters find that information, what online info can influence whether a candidate gets rejected? According to the study, 58% of U.S. recruiters and 45% of U.K recruiters list “concerns about the candidate’s lifestyle” as the main reason. “Inappropriate comments and text written by the candidate” is the second factor, with “unsuitable photos, videos, and information” as the third.

The concern of potential candidates is whether recruiters should look at their online presence ... and what is fair game. According to the study, information that was once clearly restricted from interview can now be anonymously accessed via the Internet. It's understandable why recruiters would want to make sure candidates aren't on the America's Most Wanted List or involved in a Ponzi scheme. But what about collecting information about candidates' religion, financial situation, medical condition, etc.?

According to the study, it's high time for a public discussion about online reputations:  its effect and the legal aspects of accessing all that information.


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Veronica Maria Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs.

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski

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Comments

  • by Paul Copcutt - Square Peg Thu Apr 8, 2010 via blog

    We have already seen examples of employers using social network activity to terminate or reprimand employees. It will be interesting to see how soon before we see a lawsuit from a rejected candidate!

    Just my toonies worth!

  • by Veronica Maria Jarski Thu Apr 8, 2010 via blog

    Interesting indeed. What the report mentions as "a particular concern" is that recruiters are not limited to what they can find online; they can easily and anonymously retrieve info. But it seems easier to connect the dots if a person gets fired for something she or he has done online ... It appears much more difficult to prove that a person wasn't hired for the same reason.

  • by Jillian C. York Tue Apr 27, 2010 via blog

    I'm horrified by the idea that employers might be breaking the law by discriminating based on a potential employee's religion or political views.

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