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Twenty-Eight Per cent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, Survey Finds

Career Expert Provides DOs and DON’Ts for Job Seekers on Social Networking

TORONTO - August 26, 2009 - As online social networking continues to grow in popularity across Canada, employers are utilizing these sites to screen potential employees. Twenty-eight per cent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder Canada survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates. Three per cent plan to start in the future. More than 400 hiring managers participated in the survey, which was completed in June 2009.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 52 per cent use Facebook, 39 per cent use LinkedIn and 23 per cent use MySpace. One-quarter (25 per cent) search blogs, while 11 per cent follow candidates on Twitter.

Why Employers Disregarded Candidates After Screening Online
Job seekers are advised to be careful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Twenty-six per cent of employers who use social networking sites to research job candidates reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

  • Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information - 55 per cent

  • Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer - 50 per cent

  • Candidate made discriminatory comments - 38 per cent

  • Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs - 36 per cent

  • Candidate lied about qualifications - 26 per cent

  • Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 24 per cent

  • Candidate showed poor communication skills – 24 per cent

One-in-five employers (21 per cent) have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face, while 24 per cent dismissed a candidate for using text language such as GR8 (great) in an email or job application.

Why Employers Hired Candidates After Screening Online
Job seekers are also encouraged to leverage social media to highlight their professional skills and experience. Fourteen per cent of employers who use social networking sites to research job candidates reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. The top examples include:

  • Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications - 78 per cent
  • Candidate received awards and accolades - 70 per cent
  • Candidate showed solid communication skills - 52 per cent
  • Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit within the organization - 52 per cent
  • Profile conveyed a professional image - 48 per cent
  • Candidate was creative - 48 per cent
  • Other people posted good references about the candidate - 41 per cent

"Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and promote your personal brand across the Internet," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. "Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage by conveying a professional image and underscoring your qualifications."

Haefner recommends the following DOs and DON’Ts to keep a positive image online:

    1)DO clean up digital dirt BEFORE you begin your job search. Remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.
    2)DO consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook or to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.
    3)DO keep gripes offline. Keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.
    4)DON’T forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the "block comments" feature or setting your profile to "private" so only designated friends can view it.
    5)DON’T mention your job search if you’re still employed.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within Canada by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder between May 22 and June 10, 2009 among 419 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions; non- government) ages 18 and over. With a pure probability sample of 419 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 4.79 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

CareerBuilder is a leading job site in Canada. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the Tribune Company, The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), powers the career centers for more than 175 Canadian partners that reach national, local, industry and niche audiences. These include leading portals such as AOL Canada and Job seekers visit every month to search for opportunities by industry, location, company and job type, sign up for automatic e-mail job alerts, and get advice on job hunting and career management. For more information about products and services, visit

CareerBuilder Media Contact
For all media inquiries and interview requests, contact:

Michael Erwin
(P) 773-527-3637