Umbrella Company employees contemplating new contracting opportunities may do well to heed a new study that found employers will turn candidates down if they discover negative social media content.

48% of the employers surveyed in’s study routinely research job candidates on social media; of these, 55% refused to hire a candidate after finding social media content they disapproved of. The study also found that 50% of the respondents research prospective candidates through search engines such as Google.

The most common reasons cited for eliminating a candidate from further consideration were:

  • Candidate revealed information about drinking or drug habits on social media (45%).
  • Candidate disparaged a former employing company or a work colleague (39%).
  • Candidate posted inappropriate or provocative information or photographs (38%).
  • Candidate was dishonest about their qualifications (37%).
  • Candidate demonstrated poor communication skills (35%).
  • Candidate was associated with criminal behaviour (25%).
  • Candidate posted offensive/discriminatory remarks in connection with gender, race, religion, etc. (20%).

CareerBuilder’s VP of human resources, Rosemary Haefner, said that candidates should be vigilant about what they posted online and “pay attention to privacy updates from all of their social networking accounts so they know what information is available for others to see.”

Ms Haefner recommended purging social sites of ‘digital dirt’ before commencing a job search, keeping gripes offline and focussing on positive content. She also advised candidates to accept new friends cautiously; monitor comments made by others and set their profile to ‘private’ so that only carefully selected friends can access it.

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