A new survey of 1,855 recruiting and human resources professionals from across industries by Jobvite was just released yesterday, and it reveals their hiring intentions and how they find candidates now.

69% of employers surveyed say that they expect competition for skilled workers to increase in 2015. The demand for employees is anticipated to be especially strong in the hot fields of Marketing, Engineering, IT, Operations and Sales. See the 10 hottest job titles to watch in 2015.

In this environment where candidates are harder to find, employers say that they are expanding their efforts to find candidates, and 93 % are increasingly using multiple social media sites to source and screen potential hires.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the big three, with candidate’s own blogs being the fourth most likely place employers will look for information about job seekers. LinkedIn is most often used to establish your credentials and experience, while your Facebook profile and posts can determine if you are a good cultural fit.

How employers are checking you out online:

  • 18% look up candidates on Twitter after the interview (so don’t tweet candid opinions of how you thought the interview went.)
  • 32% read candidate profiles on Facebook before interviewing them
  • 35% look up candidates after the interview on Facebook

93% of recruiters say that they will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. So what do they actually want to find out? Survey participants were asked: What do you look for in a candidate on social networks?

  • Professional experience 97%
  • Length of professional tenure 96%
  • Industry-related posts 88%
  • Mutual connections 93%
  • Specific hard skills 95%
  • Cultural fit 80%

Even a quick scan of your online profiles can reveal a lot about you. For example, do you share insightful information? Do you have a sensible, professional-looking photo? Are you well-connected in your field? Do you appear to be social and outgoing? Do you seem to be the sort of person who would fit in with the team at work they are considering hiring you for?

Unfortunately for people who don’t think about the potential consequences before posting online, more than half of the survey respondents (55%) say that they have changed their minds about a candidate based on their social profile, and 61% of those reassessments were negative.

Apparently, spelling and grammar mistakes (66%) bother employers even more than profanity (63%). So if you’re going to curse in your online posts, at least make sure to spell the four-letter words correctly.

Sex, drugs, and misplaced modifiers – how employers view social posts:

Positive   Neutral   Negative  
Profanity   5% 22% 63%
Poor spelling/grammar   3% 24% 66%
Illegal drug use   2% 7% 83%
Sexual posts   1% 17% 70%
Volunteering/donations to charity   65% 25% 2%
Political affiliation   2% 69% 17%
Alcohol   2% 43% 44%
Guns   2% 32% 51%


What’s interesting about this table is that apparently there are recruiters out there who view volunteer work and charitable donations negatively, and those who think it’s a good thing to see sex, drugs, and guns on candidates’ social profiles. Still, they are the small minority, so post with caution.

Jobvite’s Social Recruiting Survey of 1,855 recruiters and Human Resources professionals was conducted in August 2014.

See also:

  • The three things that employers want to see in your resume
  • 10 secrets about how employers really screen you
  • The three things that employers look for the most in your social media profiles
  • Infographic: The most common profile picture mistakes
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    Peter Harris

    Peter Harris on Twitter