Your Facebook Profile Might Keep You Unemployed

Before you post photos of your night of drunken debauchery to your Facebook profile, you might want to consider what kind of impression it might make on prospective employers. And lest you think that baby-boomer-generation hiring managers wouldn't know Facebook if they tripped over it, think again: 22 percent of hiring managers say they research job candidates on social networking sites.

It might seem like common sense for job hunters to keep their social networking profiles "clean," but hiring managers must not like what they are seeing, because 34 percent of those who research candidates on social networking sites "found content that caused them to dismiss the candidate from consideration." The most often sited reasons why these candidates were dismissed from consideration was because the "candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs" and the "candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information." Other turn-offs include "poor communication skills," "discriminatory remarks," and "criminal behavior."

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Twenty two percent of hiring managers using social networking to conduct their research might not seem like a lot; but this number actually represents twice as many hiring managers as who used social networking sites for research in 2006. With the ever-burgeoning popularity of social networking sites and the increasing sophistication of human resources-related technologies, it's a safe bet that the use of social networking for researching job candidates will only increase. The survey where this data comes from, further reports that nine percent of hiring manager who don't currently use social networking sites for their candidate research, "plan to start" using it.

This doesn't mean however that job hunters should eschew social networking sites: In fact, "twenty-four percent of hiring managers who researched job candidates via social networking sites said they found content that helped to solidify their decision to hire the candidate." It's not about the site; it's about the content you choose to include on your profile. The survey reports that some of the factors that impressed hiring managers were:

  • 48% - candidate's background supported their qualifications for the job
  • 43% - candidate had great communication skills
  • 40% - candidate was a good fit for the company's culture
  • 36% - candidate's site conveyed a professional image
  • 31% - candidate had great references posted about them by others
  • 30% - candidate showed a wide range of interests
  • 29% - candidate received awards and accolades
  • 24% - candidate's profile was creative

Job seekers are starting to get savvy to these practices by hiring managers and are modifying their social networking profiles to be "employer-friendly":

"Hiring managers are using the Internet to get a more well-rounded view of job candidates in terms of their skills, accomplishments and overall fit within the company... As a result, more job seekers are taking action to make their social networking profiles employer-friendly. Sixteen percent of workers who have social networking pages said they modified the content on their profile to convey a more professional image to potential employers." -- Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources,

In today's hammered economy, job seekers just can't afford to choose impressing their friends over impressing prospective employers. Our advice is to clean up your Facebook profile, get a decent job, and once you are employed, you can then afford to take your friends out for a night on the town and drink them all under the table--just don't upload the photos to your Facebook profile when you get home... No drunk Facebooking!
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