Social networking sites are more likely to hurt job seekers chances of finding employment than they are to help them land a job.

People ages 35 and older are the most rapidly growing age group to join Facebook, and about 51 percent of American adults with online access use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites – up from 25 percent during 2007, according to Forrester Research.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger said that job seekers can build a network of industry professionals, fellow alumni and former colleagues to aid in discovering available jobs, and to establish relationships with contacts or hiring managers.

But – social networking sites are rife with potential for gaffes and faux pas.

Employers and recruiters also use these sites. Ninety-five percent of companies use LinkedIn, and many also use Facebook and Twitter.

Therein lies the necessity for caution.

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Based on social networking site content, a job candidate is twice as likely to be eliminated rather than hired, said human resource professionals surveyed by

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they stopped considering an applicant because of a social networking blunder. Reasons ranged from candidates’ having poor communication skills to inappropriate/provocative photographs or information.

And only 18 percent of human resource professionals surveyed offered a position to a prospective employee due to a candidate’s display of professionalism on a social networking site.


  1. If you make any of the social sites like twitter or facebook open for public viewing and have inappropriate content on them then that is your fault. LinkedIn should never have bad content on it it is strictly for industry contacts. All can be very useful tools for a job search but cant be depended on as the one and only avenue. If you do make these public where a potential employer might see them then they should be cleaned up and written to impress more than your drinking buddy.

  2. As an employer I always look at Facebook and Myspace before hiring someone. Those sites can tell you a lot about a person that an interview may not be able to unearth.

  3. “And only 18 percent of human resource professionals surveyed offered a position to a prospective employee due to a candidate’s display of professionalism on a social networking site.”

    I’d be willing to wager that this is more due to only 18% of job seekers displaying professionalism on their social networking sites than it is to a trend in HR professionals behavior. As Ken says above, don’t put your face and name next to something on the Internet if you mind who sees it. Social networking ought to be raising the bar of integrity by shedding light on more areas of a person’s life. I suppose in a generation or so we’ll begin to really see the effects.

  4. Rebecca, your piece is very timely and is well documented with credible sources. i plan to share it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
    In an article I recently wrote, “Five things I learned from social media,” this particular entry seems to best fit your article:
    “It is best to exercise discretion –
    Don’t be fooled by the seeming anonymity of the social media platform and share things with your list of contacts you wouldn’t share with them in person. Just as a diamond is forever,” your indiscretions online are like a cyber tattoo – nearly impossible to erase.”

  5. @ Matt, i agree with you and before i present candidates to employers i also check for any open sites. On several occasions i have had them either clean it up or make it private before submitting them. In my world it reflects on me also.

    The only point i don’t agree with in this article is that linkedin is rolled up with all the other sites. I use LinkedIn everyday and have never seen inappropriate content on there.

  6. Social Networking Media is emerging as the media can we use for our purposes. Each person has different interests. Let alone to find a job, to look for any potential partner, someone can use Social Networking Media. So the presence of an innovation in the midst of life we’ll always be accompanied with the advantages and disadvantages for our lives.

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