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

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.

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.

By Cecilia Kang  |  January 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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Next: Update: Comcast-NBC applies for federal review, questions about Internet remain


"-- 58 percent say data on lifestyle"

I find this a bit vague -- are they referring to "lifestyle" as in, "drinks until they black out every weekend and brags about their illegal drug use on Facebook" or "lifestyle" as in, "has an SO of the same sex mentioned in a blog post?"

The difference of course being that using the latter to make a hiring decision is illegal in many (if not all) places.

Posted by: | January 28, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

oh man, maybe i should remove that pic of me sucking a huge d on my facebook homepage...

Posted by: BMACattack | January 28, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse


I agree that this is a bit vague, but your second comment about sexual orientation, I totally disagree with. "Many (if not all)" is a HUGE exaggeration. Most states do not protect employees in private employment from SO discrimination. Thanks to Republicans, there is no Federal law prohibiting it. Some Federal employees are protected, but not all - obviously the military openly and actively discriminates against homosexuals. Check for details on which states allow employers to legally discriminate based on SO. It's more than half.

Posted by: gibhicks | January 28, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Man, people can act naive. Employers have been using social media forever to check out someone before hiring them. Not so long ago there was a Yahoo front page article about a woman, who had her disability payment for clinical depression revoked because the company found photos of her on Facebook frolicking at some beach. Dumb and dumb. You can't post your sordid details all over the web and not expect someone to pick up on them. Most online criminal records search companies offer a social network check as part of their background check.

Posted by: social285 | January 29, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

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