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Over half employers researched candidate on social media

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What job seekers post on their social networking profiles can be both a blessing and a curse for their chances of finding employment, according to a recent survey.

Fifty-two percent of employers have researched job candidates on social media, and a further 10 percent plan to start, the national survey, conducted online on behalf of, surveying more than 400 employers, reveals. And it’s not the professional networking sites that employers are examining. Sixty-two percent check Facebook and 45 percent look at a candidate’s Twitter feed, compared to 44 percent using the professional networking site LinkedIn and 22 percent on Google+. Image sharing sites aren’t exempt from scrutiny either. Nearly one in ten (nine percent) refer to Instagram, and eight percent to Pinterest. Employers are using search engines too: Forty-nine percent of employers use search engines such as Google to research potential job candidates, and 11 percent plan to start.


Of those who have researched candidates on social media, 42 percent have found content that caused them to not hire the candidate and 18 percent have found content that made them think twice about hiring the candidate. When asked about the content that prompted them to eliminate candidates from consideration, the most common reasons employers gave included:

– Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs (33 percent)

– Job candidate had poor communications skills (32 percent)

– Job candidate lied about qualifications (30 percent)

– Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information (28 percent)

– Job candidate posted too frequently (24 percent)

– Job candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or a fellow employee (23 percent)

– Job candidate’s screen name was unprofessional (23 percent)

– Job candidate lied about an absence (22 percent)

– Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior (22 percent)

– Job candidate shared confidential information from the previous employer (20 percent)

– Job candidate made discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc. (20 percent)

Statuses employers “Like”

On the other hand, 45 percent of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they’ve found content that led them to hire a candidate. Some of the most common reasons included:

– Job candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job (38 percent)

– Job candidate was creative (38 percent)

– Job candidate’s site conveyed a professional image (31 percent)

– Job candidate had great communications skills (29 percent)

– Job candidate received awards and accolades (29 percent)

– Job candidate was well-rounded – (26 percent)

– Job candidate posted compelling video or other content (28 percent)

– Got a good feel for the job candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company (27 percent)

– Job candidate had a large amount of followers or subscribers (25 percent)

– Job candidate had interacted with my company’s social media accounts (18 percent)

– Other people posted great references (8 percent)

“CVs only tell part of the story, so employers are increasingly relying on social media and Internet search engines to supplement their knowledge of a candidate,” said Scott Helmes, managing director of CareerBuilder UK. “For these reasons, job seekers need to be more aware than ever about what they say – and what’s being said about them – online.”


The survey was conducted among 400 adults with decision making influence for hiring staff in the UK. The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in March & April 2015 using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.9 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample. 

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