Want a new IT job? Clean up your online presence

A lot of new IT job opportunities are opening for skilled tech pros, but there’s one thing job seekers can do to limit the odds they’ll be hired: making mistakes on social media sites. 

The importance of social networks for HR professionals and hiring managers when they’re looking to fill open positions is growing, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder.

Right now, 39% say they’re suing social networks to research candidates during the hiring process. That was up from 37% last year.

Unfortunately for many job seekers, those companies frequently don’t like what they see — and more often than in the past, social media profiles are giving employers second thoughts about candidates.

In fact, close to half (43%) of firms that check online profiles say they’ve found information that convinced them they shouldn’t hire a candidate, up from 34% last year.

What unfavorable information are organizations finding? These were the top reasons companies turned down applicants based on their social networking activity:

  1. The candidate posted provocative or inappropriate information or photos (cited by 50% of those companies)
  2. The profile contained information about the candidate drinking or doing drugs (48%)
  3. The candidate bad-mouthed a previous employer online (33%)
  4. The profile demonstrated that the candidate had poor communication skills (30%)
  5. The candidate made discriminatory comments regarding race, gender, religion or other topics (28%), and
  6. The candidate’s social network profile revealed the person had lied about his or her qualifications (20%).

Positive impact, too

While there’s a lot job seekers can do online to drive potential employers away, candidates can also use those sites to their advantage. In fact, 19% of hiring managers said they’ve also seen something in a social network site that swayed their decision in favor of the candidate.

The top positive factors included:

  • The candidate conveyed a professional image (cited by 57% of respondents)
  • The hiring manager got a good feel for the candidate’s personality (50%)
  • The candidate seemed well-rounded and showcased a variety of interests (50%)
  • The person’s profile supported the information on the resume (49%)
  • The candidate seemed to be creative (46%)
  • The profile displayed great communication skills (43%), and
  • Others posted positive references about the candidate (38%).

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