Friday, August 21, 2009

Behave online, redux

Today I saw a news release from CareerBuilder, a human resources company, providing research that supports what I've said in a number of blog posts and Tweets about how important it is to maintain a professional brand online. Click here for the full release and survey methodology -- but here are some key findings of their survey of 2600 hiring managers, conducted this June:

- 45% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates (up from 22% last year); a further 11% have plans to begin using social networking sites to screen future employees.

- the most popular online research tool identified by hiring managers was Facebook (29%), followed by LinkedIn (26%), MySpace (21%); managers also search blogs (11%) and Twitter (7%).

From the release:

Why Employers Disregarded Candidates After Screening Online

Job seekers are cautioned to be mindful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information - 53 percent

Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs - 44 percent

Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients - 35 percent

Candidate showed poor communication skills - 29 percent

Candidate made discriminatory comments - 26 percent

Candidate lied about qualifications - 24 percent

Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer - 20 percent

Fourteen percent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face while 16 percent dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an e-mail or job application.

Why Employers Hired Candidates After Screening Online

Job seekers are also encouraged to leverage social media whenadvertising their skills and experience.Eighteen percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. The top examples include:

Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit - 50 percent

Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications - 39 percent

Candidate was creative - 38 percent

Candidate showed solid communication skills - 35 percent

Candidate was well-rounded - 33 percent

Other people posted good references about the candidate - 19 percent

Candidate received awards and accolades - 15 percent

"Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and promote your personal brand across the Internet," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications."

Haefner recommends the following DOs and DON’Ts to keep a positive image online:

1)DO clean up digital dirt BEFORE you begin your job search. Remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.

2)DO consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook or to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.

3)DO keep gripes offline. Keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.

4)DON’T forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the "block comments" feature or setting your profile to "private" so only designated friends can view it.

5)DON’T mention your job search if you’re still employed.

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