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Employers rejecting applicants based on social media posts

Unsavoury posts and images on social media are causing employers to reject people in the 16-34 age bracket from prospective jobs, according to a study conducted by OnDevice Research, revealing the growing importance of the Internet for HR.

The study of 6,000 people showed that as much as 16 per cent of people were rejected for a job, based on something they posted on Facebook, Twitter or another social network. The figure was highest among those aged between 16 and 24, but those between 25 and 34 also encountered the problem.

China showed the highest rate of rejections based on social media, at 16 per cent for the younger age bracket and 14 per cent for the older one. India was next highest with 10 per cent and seven per cent respectively. The UK was third with nine per cent and six per cent, while the US came in with eight per cent and seven per cent.

The vast majority, two-thirds in fact, are not concerned about their use of social media, despite how potentially harmful it might be to their careers. Most users also attempt to make their profiles look good to friends, but not to potential employers.

OnDevice said that better education on the impact of social media is needed, echoing comments made by Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who warned that teenagers' online actions could haunt them forever.