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Mind Your Social Media Manners, Job Recruiters Say

September 6, 2013

Benny Evangelista

job interview  

Are you on Facebook talking about guns, alcohol or drugs? Do you tweet
obscenities or show a lack of spelling skills on Google+? Do you post sexy
photos of yourself on Instagram?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you have increased your chances of
blowing a good job opportunity in the future, according to a study released

In fact, about 42 percent of job recruiters said they have reconsidered a job
applicant, in both positive and negative ways, based on what they saw on the
candidate's social networks, according to a survey by Burlingame's Jobvite, a
job recruiting platform. With so many people sharing information online,
recruiters have an easy time scouring all forms of social media, including
LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, GitHub,
Vimeo, Xing, Yammer and Stack Overflow. "They can't help but try to find any
information about you online before they hire you," said Jobvite CEO Dan

Practice spreading

Human resource departments relying on social media to check out candidates has
been a growing trend for years. But this year's sixth annual Jobvite Social
Recruiting Survey showed just how ubiquitous a tool social networking has become
-- it's now used by 94 percent of recruiting and human resources workers.

And 78 percent of them said they have made a hire through social media. The
practice has spread across industries around the country, not just tech
industries in the Bay Area or just on the West and East coasts, Finnigan said.

One reason it's become so popular is cost. About 43 percent of recruiters said
they spent less than $1,000 a month on social recruiting, but 60 percent said
the value of using those channels was worth more than $20,000 a year to their
organizations. And about one-fifth put that value at $90,000 per year.

And instead of hiring someone to check backgrounds of candidates, HR workers can
just Google them. Finnigan said Jobvite customers report the interview process
is shorter for employees who are referred through social networks, and if hired
they stay on the job longer.

LinkedIn has become the dominant tool used by employers, with 92 percent saying
they have hired through the professional social network. "Recruiters are using
LinkedIn as the substitute for what they used to do on job boards, which is to
search for candidates and post for jobs," Finnigan said.

Fitting into firm

But 24 percent said they have also hired through Facebook and 14 percent through

Recruiters find that social profiles give them a better sense of whether the
candidate will be a cultural and professional fit for their organizations. They
typically use LinkedIn to see the candidate's professional resume and Facebook,
Twitter and Google+ for more of a snapshot of what the person is like.

So job seekers need to make sure they present themselves properly on social
media, because that next great job might be just a click away. "You can't wish
for the old days, and go to the big newspapers or the job boards and presume the
best jobs are there," Finnigan said.

Still, there is a constant stream of news reports about people who tweet before
they think, like the University of Iowa football fan who tried to rush the field
last weekend, was arrested and blew a mind-boggling 0.341 on the breathalyzer.
She became an instant Internet sensation when she told the world of her arrest
on Twitter.

According to the Jobvite survey, which was conducted in July and involved more
than 1,600 recruiting and human resources workers, 47 percent reacted negatively
when they found pictures of alcohol consumption on a job candidate's social

Good grammar crucial

And it gets worse from there. About 51 percent reacted negatively when they
found references to guns. And 61 percent reacted poorly to spelling and
grammatical errors. Other negatives:

Profanity -- 65 percent reacted negatively.

Posts or tweets of a sexual nature -- 71 percent (although curiously, 4 percent
reacted positively).

References to using illegal drugs -- 83 percent.

Interestingly, posts or tweets about politics and religion -- two normally
hot-button topics -- garnered a neutral reaction from job recruiters.

Benny Evangelista is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail:


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Source: Copyright 1SF 2013

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