According to a new survey released by Vault.com, 44% of employers use social networking web sites like MySpace and Facebook to examine the profiles of job candidates, and 39% have looked up the profile of a current employee.
Vault’s Social Networking Web Site Survey was conducted in October and consists of 700 responses from employers and employees representing various industries across the United States.
One employer says he looks at these sites, “on occasion, seeking to both corroborate experience and to see if I can learn a bit more about the person.”
Profiles that reveal questionable behavior or attitudes can be harmful to job seekers. Of employers, 82% say that something they perceive as negative on a profile would affect their decision to hire the applicant.
Most employees (75%) are aware that potential employers may look up their profiles, and 28% think that something on their profiles might be a turn off to future bosses.
This explains why 57% of employees take security measures, such as using the web site’s privacy controls or editing their profiles when in the midst of a job search.
According to one employee, “Although I have nothing to hide, I'd rather some employers not see what personal messages my friends have written me.”