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Personal Branding Plays Critical Role in Hiring

Personal Branding Plays Critical Role in Hiring
Credit: 2nix Studio/Shutterstock

If a potential employer can't find you online, there's a good chance the company won't be hiring you, new research finds.

More than one-third of employers are less likely to interview job candidates if the companies can't find information about the applicants online, according to a CareerBuilder study of more than 2,100 hiring and human resources managers.

The number of companies using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to investigate candidates is on the rise. Overall, 52 percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, up significantly from 39 percent in 2013.

What began as an emerging trend has blossomed into a staple of recruiting, Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, said of researching candidates via social media and other online outlets.

"In a competitive job market, recruiters are looking for all the information they can find that might help them make decisions," Haefner said in a statement. "Rather than go off the grid, job seekers should make their professional persona visible online, and ensure any information that could dissuade prospective employers is made private or removed."

Not all hiring managers, however, are looking for information that could sink a candidate's chances. Sixty percent of those surveyed are actually searching for evidence that supports an applicant's qualification for the job, while nearly 40 percent want to see what other people are posting about the candidate. [Speak Up! Your Voice May Land You a Job ]

The study revealed that 32 percent of employers found information that triggered them to hire a candidate, including:

  • Candidate's background information supported job qualifications
  • Candidate's personality came across as good fit with company culture
  • Candidate's site conveyed a professional image
  • Candidate had great communication skills
  • Candidate was creative

There are also things, however, that employers find that cause them to shy away from job seekers. Nearly half of hiring managers who screen applicants via social networks said they've found information that kept them from hiring a candidate.

The top pieces of content that turned off employers are:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs
  • Information about candidate drinking or using drugs
  • Candidate bad-mouthing previous company or fellow employee
  • Poor communication skills

The research revealed that some industries are more likely than others to conduct online screening. The industries that most frequently investigate job candidates on social media are information technology, financial services, sales and professional, and business services.

Employers, however, aren't the only ones to use social media to their advantage. A separate survey discovered that 15 percent of workers seek out hiring managers on social media, with 38 percent of that group trying to directly interact with them.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.