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70% of hiring managers say they reject job applicants because of info they find online

The way we are perceived has never been more important as Big Brother casts its eerie eye over the unwitting jobseeker

If there was ever a doubt that those party pictures on Facebook can come back to haunt you, take a look at this statistic: 70 percent of hiring managers say they've decided not to hire an applicant because of information they've found online.

The data come from a survey of 1,200 human relations managers and consumers in the United States, Britain, Germany and France. Microsoft commissioned it last November.

Those surveyed said they almost all go online to research candidates to hire and think they are justified in doing so. Conversely, only 7 percent of consumers think recruiters check out potential candidates online in considering hiring decisions.

Recruiters said they search for information about candidates through search engines, on social networking sites, personal Web sites and blogs, gaming sites, online classified sites and through professional background checkers.

Simon Lewis, editor at digital recruitment advertiser, Only Marketing Jobs, comments: "It continues to astound me just how few jobseekers are aware of their personal brands. In an era when finding a job is as much about driving people to your profile as it is applying for jobs directly, where's the sense in promoting the wrong message about you through inappropriate pictures and misleading personal details? It's crazy. The Big Brother theory wasn't vaulted by Mr Orwell. And whilst describing employers as being totalitarianism might be stretching the point, it should be conceded that - rightly or wrongly - employee/applicant surveillance is now much, much more than a 1984 theory."

What kind of information prompts hiring mangers to reject a candidate?
    58 percent say data on lifestyle
    56 percent say inappropriate written text
    55 percent say inappropriate photos
The report was released on International Privacy Day, which in Washington will be marked with a conference at the Newseum. Reputation Defender and privacy groups will discuss how legislators and regulators are responding to a growing push to address online privacy.

What do you think about employers choosing who to interview based on their social behaviour? Are employers wrong to do this or is the responsibility of the jobseeker to ensure their online profiles match their professional ambitions?

Original source: Cecilia Kang | The Washington Post

Colleen Gildea

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