Employers Increasingly Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates

Fifty-two percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up from 43% last year and 39% in 2013, according to CareerBuilder.

Six in ten (60%) are “looking for information that supports their qualifications for the job.” For some occupations, this could include a professional portfolio, CareerBuilder says. Fifty-six percent of recruiters want to see if the candidate has a professional online persona, 37% want to see what other people are posting about the candidate, and 21% admit they’re looking for reasons not to hire the candidate.

Additionally, 51% of hiring managers surveyed use search engines to research candidates. More than one-third of employers (35%) say they are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information about that person online.

Hiring managers in information technology (76%) and financial services (64%) are the most likely to use social networks to screen candidates; retail (46%) had the lowest share.

UP NEXT: What employers found that they didn’t like.

Thirty-five percent of employers who screen via social networks have requested to “be a friend” or follow candidates that have private accounts. Of that group, 80% say they’ve been granted permission.

Forty-eight percent of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate—down slightly from 51% last year. The following are the top pieces of content that turned off employers:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs – 46%;
  • Information about candidate drinking or using drugs – 40%;
  • Candidate bad-mouthed previous company or fellow employee – 34%;
  • Poor communication skills – 30%; and
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. – 29%.


About one-third (32%), however, found information that caused them to hire a candidate, including:

  • Candidate’s background information supported job qualifications –42%;
  • Candidate’s personality came across as good fit with company culture – 38%;
  • Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image – 38%;
  • Candidate had great communication skills – 37%; and
  • Candidate was creative – 36%.


The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,175 hiring and human resource managers.