Employers checking the Web: Study

By Anne Collier

This isn’t about summer jobs for teens, necessarily, but teens may want some hard evidence that their social networking profiles and other online activities could factor into their job searches going forward. So here’s some data from Microsoft: a survey of “1,200 hiring and recruitment managers and 1,200 consumers in the United States, the UK, Germany, and France.” In its coverage, a MediaPost.com blog reported that, while only 7% of “US consumers surveyed believe information about them online affected their job search … 70% of US recruiters and HR professionals have rejected candidates based on information they found online”; and 85% say that “positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent, and nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent.” The report says that online sources such as social network sites aren’t the only places human resource departments check, but “online screening” is now a formal requirement of the hiring process, many such department say, adding that they believe “use of online reputational information will significantly increase over the next five years.” Fortunately, recruiters and HR professionals “report being very or somewhat concerned about the authenticity of the content they find.” Net users have mixed opinions about whether online screening is appropriate, but they use a variety of measures to protect their online reputations: “Most notably, they use multiple personas, search for information about themselves, adjust privacy settings, and refrain from posting content that they believe could damage their reputation.”

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