Ever Google your name and find some less-than-flattering results?
While the top court in Europe ruled Tuesday that search engines there can be forced to erase links to content about individuals on the Web, survey results released the same day by a Chicago-based global outplacement firm show that, though most employers check candidates’ social media activity, applicants’ digital footprints have little effect on companies’ hiring decisions.
In a poll of 100 human resources executives by Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., 60 percent said they always or sometimes ran Internet searches on applicants, but only 6 percent said results significantly impact hiring.
“If you eliminate every candidate with problematic Facebook or Twitter posts, you would quickly run out of candidates,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Still, Challenger advised individuals, especially new college graduates, “to consider your social media activity as an open book that will be factored into hiring decisions.”
Two Oklahoma employers, who’ve ruled out candidates because of social media activity, wholeheartedly echo that advice.
Andra Zwick ,of Oklahoma City-based Zwick & Associates staffing firm, several years ago had a client company decide against extending an offer to a woman for an administrative assistant job, after viewing a picture she’d posted on her Facebook page of herself scantily-clad on a motorcycle.
“She had a great resume, great skills and would’ve been amazing in the role,” Zwick said. “I don’t know if it was the picture that disqualified her, or the fact she’d hadn’t made her Facebook page private.”
These days, more clients check out candidates online before they interview them, Zwick said. Many will mention their intention of Googling someone, she said, while one client uses peekyou.com for more comprehensive searches, and Zwick herself often points clients to LinkedIn where they can view candidates’ references and posted work.
“Clients are trying to gain an understanding of who the candidate is, both professionally and personally, before making a very crucial hiring decision,” she said.