CarrerBuilder, a cutting-edge human resource software company that works with many top employers. They reached out to Harris Poll to conduct a survey on employers using social media to screen candidates.

The study showed that 60 percent of employers are using social media sites to research potential candidates; no real surprise there.

According to the survey, those numbers are up almost 10 percent from last year and nearly a 50 percent difference from 2006.

The national US survey of 2,186 hiring managers and 3,031 full-time employees, showed that hiring managers, especially in the Information Technology and Sales industries, were the most likely to screen through social media. While professional and business services were the least likely.

Below are some of the figures provided by CareerBuilder:

  • IT: 76 percent
  • Sales: 65 percent
  • Financial services: 61 percent
  • Health care: 59 percent
  • Retail: 59 percent
  • Manufacturing: 56 percent
  • Professional and business services: 55 percent

According to the survey, most hiring managers weren’t necessarily looking for negatives. They were also, "looking for information that supports their qualifications”.

The one thing I wouldn’t have guessed is that 36 percent of the employers, also requested to be a ‘friend’ on the candidates site. So, it’s no surprise that during their screening, hiring managers found things like:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos
  • candidate drinking or using drugs
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender
  • Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee

Which I’m sure didn’t go well for the candidate(s) afterwards.

Employers using social mediaThe scary part, is that the survey also disclosed that 32 percent of employers used social media to research their current employees - leading to reprimands and terminations for some.

The internet can be a wonderful resource, but the upcoming generations are going to learn the hard way when it comes to what they post on social media. In an era where companies are providing their employees smartphones and tablets with pre-installed monitoring apps, using the internet to hire or monitor their workforce, will only continue to grow.

So watch your digital footprint folks.