Data: 46% of Recruiters Eliminate Candidates After Finding Them Online

Data: 46% of Recruiters Eliminate Candidates After Finding Them Online

Emily Smykal

social media screening recruitingWe use the internet to make decisions and find answers for seemingly everything now. Gone are the days of dating someone sight unseen, or walking into a new restaurant just hoping for the best. Search results and social media connections arm us with more data than ever as we make up our minds.

Want to know if your date tonight is really single, or has a criminal history? Just dive into their social media profiles, and then run your own ad-hoc background check. Not sure if that new taco joint is worth the trek across town? There’s a multitude of apps for that.

The internet is now an indispensable tool for decision-making, and this has inevitably spread to recruitment. Recruiters often research candidates online before making a decision, just as those potential employees are using the internet to learn more about the company.

CareerBuilder’s recent Candidate Behavior survey of hiring managers found that this technique is becoming increasingly prevalent. Nearly half of the respondents admit they have ruled out an applicant after reviewing their online personas. What does that mean for recruiters and candidates going forward?

What Candidates Say Says A Lot About Them

The content that makes up anyone’s internet identity is a public display of their personality, interests, and skills. But this is not necessarily the personality they would put forward when dealing with a recruiter. Not long ago, most job seekers wouldn’t have considered the message their online presence sends to potential employers. But now the tools we use to research anything online are also available to hiring managers.

CareerBuilder’s survey explored how recruiters use the internet as part of the hiring process. When asked which methods they use to find more information about a candidate via social media, 56% admit they google the person in question. Another 55% look for their Facebook profiles, and 48% try to find them on LinkedIn.

Now the information on a candidate’s LinkedIn profile might not be a worry, as it likely matches what they’ve already sent to the recruiter. But Facebook content, and the wide world of Google search results, can contain many details that a candidate wouldn’t normally share when applying for a job.

And recruiters are putting these findings to use. The study also found that 46% of hiring managers have eliminated an applicant from consideration based on their online presence. The survey did not include data on the number of times they did this, but given the widespread use of the internet, you could guess that decisions are made based on online personas with rising frequency.

Googling Your Way to the Right Fit

Does this mean candidates should scrub their online personas clean, removing anything that might raise a red flag for recruiters? Not so fast–hiring managers aren’t looking to fill their offices with lifeless drones, devoid of personality. Talent acquisition may emphasize a lot of hard data and ticked boxes, but soft skills like problem solving, and valuable traits like creativity and humor, are just as important.

Besides, eliminating their online profile is much easier said than done. Candidates would be better served by more careful consideration of the things they make public in the first place. When they research a candidate online, via social media and search results, recruiters get a better feel for their social skills and personality traits, even personal preferences and ideologies.

And this can lead to an applicant that fits well with the company’s or specific department’s culture. Every office is different, and a recruiter in one might seek workers with a certain demeanor, while another prefers applicants with a penchant for after-work sports teams. If a hiring manager spots similarities between a candidate’s personal life and the company’s culture, they could be swayed to move the candidate along to the next step in the application process.

Online Personas Affect Everyone

One more interesting point from the survey featured the quality of job candidates hiring managers typically receive. The respondents chose “Good” to describe candidates 54% of the time, followed by “Fair” at 24%. Only 20% said the candidates they receive are “Great,” which may simply mean not enough of the best candidates are applying to the right jobs.

Yet it also suggests recruiters are not satisfied with their results. Just as consumers swipe from one online store to the next to find the best deal, recruiters may now expect the internet to provide them with better candidates than ever before, right at their fingertips.

But just as employers use the internet to “shop” for the best applicants, candidates use online tools in the same way, shopping for companies they want to work for. If you expect candidates to maintain appropriate online identities, you should know the candidate expects you to have the same level of consideration for your own online presence. Good social media hygiene and employer brand can lead to better matches for both sides.

To learn more about recruiting metrics, and the role of analytics in helping talent acquisition leaders make better decisions, read our whitepaper, Analytics in Talent Acquisition: The Hype, the Reality, and the Future.

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