Online Reputations & Job Applications

The study, conducted in December 2009, was undertaken by 275 recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers and 330 consumers from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A surprising piece of information will surely be that ‘41% of UK Recruiters have rejected candidates based on their online information compared with just 9% of applicants who though the data affected their job search’. Over the last few years sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook have become incredibly popular and it has been known for some time that in certain cases employers have checked online information and subsequently rejected a candidate, however the level to which this is occurring will be highly surprising.

The report also highlighted that ‘48% of UK companies have policies that require a review of online information’ and ‘47% of UK recruiters seek reputational information’. When researching applicants:

  • 78% use Search Engines
  • 63% use Social Networking Sites
  • 59% use Photo and video sharing sites
  • 57% use Professional and business networking sites
  • 48% use Personal Web Sites
  • 46% use Blogs
  • 41% use News Sharing Sites such as Twitter
  • 34% use Online forums and communities
  • 32% use Virtual world sites
  • 32% use Web sites that aggregate personal information
  • 27% use Online gaming sites
  • 27% use Professional background checking services
  • 25% use Classifieds and auction sites
  • 2% use None of these

In terms of the types of online information that influenced decisions to reject a candidate:

  • Concerns about the candidates lifestyle – 45%
  • Inappropriate comments and text written by the candidate – 57%
  • Unsuitable photos, videos and information – 51%
  • Inappropriate comments or text written by friends and relatives – 35%
  • Comments criticizing previous employers, co-workers, or clients – 40%
  • Inappropriate comments or text written by colleagues or work acquaintances – 37%
  • Membership in certain groups and networks – 33%
  • Discovered that information the candidate shared was false – 36%
  • Poor communication skills displayed online – 41%
  • Concern about the candidates financial background – 18%

If you use social networking sites you should be careful about the information you publicise on the profile and ensure that you have adequate security safeguards in place, otherwise your career could be negatively affected. In the world of permanent recruitment this report will be eye-opening let alone contracting where individuals typically undertake 2-4 assignments per year (meaning 2-4 times the amount of applications per year).

The information detailed in this posting has been taken from Online Reputation in a Connected World, a report published by Cross Tab.

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