Survey finds 7 of 10 employers reject candidates based on social media

The Right Click

We've all been stuck in the never-ending job search at one time or another. But have you ever stopped to think if your social media presence is really what's behind your prolonged unemployment?

Online reputation management company Reppler conducted a survey of 300 people who are part of their respective company's hiring processes, asking them questions about how important social media is to the job hunt.

It turns out that 91% of employers take social media into account when screening a potential employee, and 69% reject candidates based on social media. That just about matches a similar survey released by Microsoft Research in 2010 that found 70% of recruiters said they'd reject candidates based on information they found online.

If you're curious how long it takes for an employer to search you out online, almost half (47%) search for the candidate as soon as they get his or her application, while the other half wait until further along in the hiring process.

Here are the reasons why the employers have rejected candidates for what they found on social media, and the percentage of employers who rejected candidates for that reason:

  • 11% posted inappropriate photos
  • 11% posted inappropriate comments
  • 9% posted content about them drinking
  • 10% posted content about them using drugs
  • 11% posted negative comments about a previous employer
  • 11% demonstrated poor communication skills
  • 10% made discriminatory comments
  • 13% lied about their qualifications
  • 7% shared confidential information from a previous employer

It isn't all bad news for you frequent Facebook and Twitter users out there, though. The same group of hiring committee members were asked if they'd ever hired someone based on information they'd found on a candidate through social media. Nearly as many of the respondents who had rejected candidates had hired for social media-related reasons, too (68%).

These are the reasons why employers hired candidates based on their social media presence, and the percent of employers that have hired because of that reason:

  • 39% gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
  • 36% had a profile that supported their professional qualifications
  • 36% showed through their profile that they were creative
  • 33% showed solid communication skills
  • 33% showed that they were well-rounded through their profile
  • 34% had good references posted by others
  • 24% received awards and accolades

And if you're still wondering if employers are more likely to look at one social media platform over another, you're right: 76% of employers who use social media turn to Facebook for all the dirt on candidates, followed by Twitter (53%) and LinkedIn (48%).

So if you don't want to get ousted from the candidate pool (and possibly improve your chances of getting hired), you can check out these tips from on how to employer-proof your Facebook profile. Of course, you can always just follow this piece of wisdom: if you wouldn't show it to your mother, don't post it online.

(Screengrab from