Social Media Can Make – Or Break – Your Job Search

In today’s digital world, getting hired is about more than just a job interview; often, candidates make their first impression on an employer long before they even step through company doors. Social media has taken the job search to a new level, allowing employers to recruit employees and candidates to search for jobs in new ways.

CareerBuilder has released the results of its nationwide survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals about how they use social media to recruit potential employees.

Who Uses Social Media to Research Candidates?

  • 37 percent use social networking sites to research job candidates
    • 65% use Facebook
    • 63% use LinkedIn
    • 16% use Twitter
    • Of those who don’t use social media to research potential employees:
      • 15% said their company prohibits it
      • 11% said they don’t currently use social media to screen, but plan to start

What Are Hiring Managers Looking for on Social Media?

  • 65% use it to see if the candidate presents him or herself professionally
  • 51% use it to see if the candidate is a good fit for company culture
  • 45% use it to learn more about the candidate’s qualifications
  • 35% use it to see if the candidate is well-rounded
  • 12% use it to look for reasons not to hire a candidate

Is Social Media Helping or Hurting Job Candidates?

Thirty-four percent of respondents who use social media to screen said they have found information online that has caused them not to hire a candidate. Some reasons include:

  • 49% say the candidate posted inappropriate photos or information
  • 45% say they found information about the candidate drinking or using drugs
  • 35% said the candidate had poor communication skills
  • 33% said the candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer
  • 28% said the candidate made discriminatory comments
  • 22% said the candidate lied about qualifications

But, not all news is bad: 29% of those who use social media to screen found information that caused them to hire a candidate, such as:

  • 58% got a good feel for the candidate’s personality
  • 55% saw that the candidate conveyed a professional image
  • 54% found background info that supported professional qualifications
  • 51% saw the candidate was well-rounded and showed a wide range of interests
  • 49% saw the candidate had great communication skills
  • 44% saw the candidate was creative
  • 34% saw other people had posted great references about the candidate

“Job seekers should be mindful of what potential employers can learn about them online,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of HR at CareerBuilder. “If you choose to leave social media content public, tailor the message to your advantage. Filter out anything that can tarnish your professional reputation and post communications, links and photos that portray you in the best light.”

What do these results mean? Basically: use social media for your job search, and use it right.

What do you think about these results? Do you use social media for your job search?

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About the Author: Kate D’Amico is a recent Virginia Tech graduate where she studied communications with an emphasis in public relations as well as psychology and special events management and marketing. She has prior internship experience in corporate communications and public relations for technology, nonprofit, and association clients.  Follow Kate on Twitter.



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