April 18, 2012 at 11:19 AM ET
Attention jobseekers: You probably want to clean up your Twitter feed, lock down your Facebook profile and gussy up your LinkedIn page.
There is a good chance your prospective employer is snooping around about you on social networking sites.
A new survey from CareerBuilder finds that 37 percent of human resource managers are using social networking sites to research potential job candidates, and another 11 percent plan to start.
What’s more, they’re using social media to make hiring decisions.
About one-third of hiring managers who are using social networking sites to screen candidates say they didn’t hire someone because they found something online that raised an issue about the candidate. The most common red flags were inappropriate or provocative photos or information, or something about the candidate drinking or using drugs.
The findings don’t mean you should shutter your social media life completely. A good social strategy could land you a job.
A little less than one-third of respondents said they had found something on social media that caused them to hire the candidate. Those hiring managers said social media gave them a good feel for the candidate’s personality, conveyed a professional image and supported the qualifications they had been given.
CareerBuilder surveyed about 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals for the study.
The findings come as more companies are getting aggressive about screening candidates via social networking, even going so far as to demand a candidate’s Facebook password. The state of Maryland recently became the first to ban that practice.
In the CareerBuilder survey, 15 percent of respondents said their employers prohibited using social media to screen candidates.
The issue is coming up with current employees too. A Library of Congress employee recently accused his employer of firing him after learning via Facebook that he was gay.
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