What is cyber-vetting? It could cost you your job

Credit: shapecharge

Credit: shapecharge

While job applicants are used to being told to ditch the beer pictures on Facebook, more than half of U.S. companies now are less likely to interview a candidate who has no online presence.

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A national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that more than 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. The majority of companies will dig through social profiles, but find it even more suspect if they see nothing at all.

Here are five things you need to know:

1. WHAT CYBER-VETTING? Cyber-vetting, the practice of researching potential candidates online, is becoming one of the primary ways companies find the right match for an open position. The survey included a representative sample of more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector.

2. SHOULD YOU DELETE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA? About a quarter of employers expect candidates to have an online presence, and having a strong brand online can actually lead to new opportunities.

3. CHECKING YOUR PROFILE More than 70 percent of employers will use social media to screen candidates before hiring, a significant increase from the 11 percent of companies who practiced cyber-vetting in 2006. It's become so important to employers that 30 percent of human resource departments have an employee dedicated to check social media profiles.

4. LOSING OPPORTUNITIES Approximately 54 percent of employers acknowledged finding content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate for an open role.

5. WHY DO COMPANIES WANT TO SEE YOUR FACEBOOK? Melissa Spirek, full professor of media studies at Wright State University, said companies use digital information to determine the ability of the candidate to fit their culture — and they also use personal data posted online to learn information that would be illegal to ask in an interview. Such information can include a candidate's marital status, age, even sexual orientation. Spirek's advice to job applicants: "They should ask themselves, 'What is the potential cost of posting this message?'"

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