Survey: Social Media Screening on the Rise

Before posting pictures of your late-night revelry or complaints about your job on social media, think again – 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, up significantly from 60% last year and 11% in 2006.

The national survey was conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll. It included a representative sample of more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

Social recruiting is becoming a key part of HR departments – three in 10 employers have someone dedicated to the task. When researching candidates for a job, employers who use social networking sites are looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job (61%), if the candidate has a professional online persona (50%), what other people are posting about the candidates (37%) and for a reason not to hire a candidate (24%).

Employers aren’t just looking at social media – 69% are using online search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing to research candidates as well.

Of those who decided not to hire a candidate based on their social media profiles, the reasons included:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 39%
  • Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 38%
  • Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion: 32%
  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee: 30%
  • Candidate lied about qualifications: 27%
  • Candidate had poor communication skills: 27%
  • Candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 26%

Your online persona doesn’t just have the potential to get you in trouble. Cultivating your presence online can also lead to reward. More than four in 10 employers have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate. Among the primary reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social networking site were candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications (38%), great communication skills (37%), a professional image (36%) and creativity (35%).

Debating removing your social media profiles while job searching? Think twice before you hit delete. Fifty-seven percent of employers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job candidate online. Of that group, 36% like to gather more information before calling in a candidate for an interview and 25% expect candidates to have an online presence.

Just because you got the job doesn’t mean you can disregard what you post online. More than half of employers use social networking sites to research current employees. Thirty-four percent of employers have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Job Candidates: Don’t Do These Things in the Interview

87566052CareerBuilder offers some reasonable guidance regarding what may make interviewers put off by some candidates. Read the full post, but it also offers some bizarre things candidates have reportedly done. I personally like: “Applicant acted out a Star Trek role.”

Candidate: “Damn it, Jim! I’m a doctor, not an accountant.”
Interviewer: “Ok, well we’re discussing a CPA position, soooooo…”

Anyway, here’s the strange list:

When asked to share the most outrageous mistakes candidates made during a job interview, employers gave the following real-life examples:

  • Applicant warned the interviewer that she “took too much valium” and didn’t think her interview was indicative of her personality
  • Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
  • Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
  • Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
  • Applicant asked for a hug
  • Applicant attempted to secretly record the interview
  • Applicant brought personal photo albums
  • Applicant called himself his own personal hero
  • Applicant checked Facebook during the interview
  • Applicant crashed her car into the building
  • Applicant popped out his teeth when discussing dental benefits
  • Applicant kept her iPod headphones on during the interview
  • Applicant set fire to the interviewer’s newspaper while reading it when the interviewer said “Impress me”
  • Applicant said that he questioned his daughter’s paternity
  • Applicant wanted to know the name and phone number of the receptionist because he really liked her

In the end, know that hiring managers are looking for a new team member and want to find somebody that’s a good fit, and aren’t rooting for you to fail. “Employers want to see confidence and genuine interest in the position. The interview is not only an opportunity to showcase your skills, but also to demonstrate that you’re the type of person people will want to work with,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Going over common interview questions, researching the company, and practicing with a friend or family member can help you feel more prepared, give you a boost in confidence, and help calm your nerves.”

Ill Communication: Strange Reasons People Call in “Sick”

I once had to delay coming to work because my dog, Harry (pictured), injured his foot jumping off of my bed. While I didn’t call in “sick” and actually told my supervisors what was going on, it was an odd reason to be sure. (Even more odd considering he was fine the next day after I dropped a couple hundo at the vet, and he may have simply been in search of some painkillers to ease the stress he must be under from sleeping all day and listening to light rock radio.)

At any rate, Ragan reports on CareerBuilder’s survey about the reasons people can’t make it in to work. Some of these excuses will amuse you:

Take a look at this list CareerBuilder compiled from the survey. You may have heard some of these yourself.

When asked to share the most memorable excuses, employers reported the following real-life examples:

• Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow the car to start.
• Employee forgot he was hired for the job.
• Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown.
• Employee’s dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation.
• Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet.
• Employee said a bird bit her.
• Employee was upset after watching “The Hunger Games.”
• Employee got sick from reading too much.
• Employee was suffering from a broken heart.
• Employee’s hair turned orange from dying her hair at home.

29 percent of bosses check up on excuses

The survey also found that a fair number of managers want to verify if sick workers are actually sick.

This was a big issue for me when I was a manager in Hawaii in a union shop, and mysteriously had a number of the surfers on staff call in sick when the surf was particularly large. I never caught any of them surfing when they should have been home in bed, but that was more because I didn’t have the time or resources to track all of them down.

Twenty-nine percent of employers say they have checked up on an employee to verify that his or her illness was legitimate, usually by requiring a doctor’s note or calling the employee later in the day.


Many Have Anxiety About Re-entering Workforce

The World at Work has an intriguing post about Americans getting back into the workforce. The good news is that 60% of those who were laid off last year have found jobs; the bad news is those who are still looking have more challenges to overcome than one might think.

While more laid off workers are getting back to work, those who are still unemployed are anxious about re-entering the workforce. 60% of workers who were laid off in the last year reported they landed new jobs, with 88% of these workers finding full-time positions. Of those workers who are still searching for new opportunities, 56% said they are nervous about returning to work after an extended period of unemployment. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive for from May 19 to June 8, 2011, included more than 800 workers who were laid off from full-time jobs in the last year.

When asked why they felt anxious about re-entering the workforce, 50% of laid off, unemployed workers said it was the pressure to prove themselves while 40% pointed to fear of the unknown and 21% cited new technologies with which they may not be familiar.

Fear of the unknown especially comes into play as workers look to new industries and occupations after exhausting options in their own fields. More than half of workers (54%) who were laid off in the last year and found new jobs reported they found them in entirely different fields than where they previously worked.

"We need to do a better job as a nation to help workers identify jobs that are in-demand today and are projected to grow in the future," said Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America. "We have a growing skills gap and the need to get millions of Americans back to work. As the economy recovers, we need to focus on retraining and ‘re-skilling’ workers to help them move to new fields with a greater number of opportunities."

Workers are not only changing industries, they’re changing residences. Of workers who were laid off and found new jobs, 36% reported they relocated to a new city or state. Of those who haven’t found new jobs yet, 38% said they would consider relocating for a position.

Pay Improving
The majority of laid off workers who found new jobs reported their pay is similar or higher than their previous position. 45% reported taking a pay cut, an improvement from 47% last year. 27% found jobs with higher pay, up from 22% last year.

Starting a Small Business
Some workers may replace their job search efforts with entrepreneurship. More than one-in-four (27%) who have not yet found work said they are considering starting their own business.

Good News on the Hiring Front?

The results of a newly released survey from seem pretty encouraging, at least in terms of the worst of the recession being over for the business sector. explains:

Fifty-three percent of employers plan to hire full-time employees in the next 12 months, and 40 percent plan to hire contract, temporary or project professionals, according to a survey released Tuesday, August 25, by job board and Robert Half International Inc.
The survey also found that 47 percent of hiring managers cited underqualified applicants as their most common hiring challenge.

The annual Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations Report provides an overview of the current employment situation, as well as a glimpse of the future hiring landscape. The report offers information on what types of professionals employers will be looking for when economic conditions improve.

The survey questioned more than 500 hiring managers and 500 workers.

“Companies already are identifying the key skill sets they will need in new hires to take advantage of the opportunities presented by improving economic conditions,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Firms that cut staffing levels too deeply may need to do significant rebuilding once the recovery takes hold.”

Just Say “No” to Résumé Blunders

Oh, the agony of job searches. There’s the time-consuming process of developing a summary of your many accomplishments and attributes (as hours pass, you begin to wonder if you’ll be finished when Haley’s Comet reappears in 2062). Nail-biting interviews also take a toll (sadly, willing the telephone to ring won’t guarantee a job offer). Here’s the good news: Your best weapon in the “job search jungle” is something you have complete control over — your résumé.

But, be aware: typos translate to trouble.

A recent article I saw polled senior executives at the country’s largest companies. Forty percent of respondents revealed they would disqualify candidates who submitted résumés containing grammatical errors.

Talk about having one chance to make a first impression!

The story also revealed some sloppy mistakes that sent the candidate packing:

• Hope to hear from you shorty.
• Have a keen eye for derail.
• I’m attacking my resume for you to review.
• Dear Sir or Madman (this is one of my favorites. Unless you really are applying to work for a madman, this salutation won’t earn you any points.)

Evn if re-reading you’re résumé becomes less appealing than other tasks such as tackling outdoor chores – during a blizzard – give it one last look (did you catch my misspelling of “Even” and "your?”). Otherwise, one mistake could bring it a one-way ticket to a potential employer’s trash can.  

Indianapolis Named Top City for Recent Grads

CNN reports that according to and, our capital city was named the top city for recent college graduates. Here is the list and criteria:

The list is based on the ranking of the top U.S. cities with the highest concentration of young adults (age 20 – 24) from the U.S. Census Bureau (2006), inventory of jobs requiring less than one year of experience from (2009) and the average cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment from (2009).

1. Indianapolis
Average rent (1 bedroom):* $625
Popular entry-level categories from Careerbuilder: sales, customer service, health care

2. Philadelphia
Average rent: $1,034
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, management

3. Baltimore
Average rent: $1,130
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, health care

4. Cincinnati
Average rent: $691
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, health care

5. Cleveland
Average rent: $686
Popular entry-level categories: sales, marketing, customer service

6. New York
Average rent: $1,548
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, admin-clerical

7. Phoenix
Average rent: $747
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, marketing

8. Denver
Average rent: $877
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, health care

9. Chicago
Average rent: $1,133
Popular entry-level categories: sales, marketing, customer service

10. San Antonio
Average rent: $696
Popular entry-level categories: sales, customer service, management 

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Ashton Eller.