Infographic: How Employers Use Social Media to Hire and Fire

Have you ever Googled yourself? You should do it, but not to make yourself feel good about all of the references you can find to your person and/or your work, but to find out how much digital dirt you've left all over the Internet. That is, incriminating photographs or angry status updates posted after a late night out. Clean up as much as you can -- most of it will probably be self-produced and live on one or more of your social networking profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) -- because digital dirt is listed at one of five ways to ensure that you'll never get hired in this new infographic from Mindflash.

"A new law was recently passed allowing third-party companies to begin compiling social media reports for other companies to use in order to screen potential hires," warns the introduction to this infographic. "With this service becoming available in the near future, it's more important than ever to keep your social media presence as clean as possible -- you never know if a future employer is going to find something that makes it believe you are not fit for the job, or the type of employee they are looking for."

Mindflash presents the results from a CareerBuilder survey of employers taken in 2009, which found that 45 percent were using social media sites to screen potential hires. Today, surely, that number has increased, but the results -- that more employers find negative content more often than positive content in profiles -- has likely remained the same.

Infographics are always a bit of a hodgepodge of statistics culled from a variety of sources. Here, we sort through the clutter and pull out some of our favorite facts and figures:

  • A 2009 survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 45 percent of companies use social media sites to screen potential hires, with most of them looking at Facebook (29 percent) and LinkedIn (26 percent). Another group looked at Twitter accounts and existing blogs.
  • More employers are finding negative content on social media sites (information that might lead them to not hire a candidate) than are finding positive content. More than half said they had found provocative and inappropriate photographs or information, 44 percent found content about using drugs or drinking alcohol, 35 percent found potential hires bad-mouthing previous employers or co-workers, and 29 percent found evidence of poor communication skills.
  • Of those employers who found things to be positive about on social media profiles, 50 percent reported a good feel for the candidate's personality, 38 percent found evidence of creativity, 35 percent found solid communication skills, and 19 percent discovered food references from others about the candidate.

Check out more Infographics on the Technology Channel.


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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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