Well, I’m going to have to figure out a new way to scare my kids straight when they start using social media.

Although they’re still young, I’d already planned my warning: “Watch what you say, do and post on Twitter/Facebook/whatever’s popular by the time my kids are using the Internet,” I’d tell them sternly. “Those photos you think are just for fun could cost you a job one day!”

Well, thanks to a new survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, I’ll have to rethink my lecture.

According to 541 SHRM members polled, the majority say a job candidate’s social media activity is a non-issue when it comes to hiring. When asked why they don’t screen applicants’ social media pages, 66% of respondents cited legal concerns and the risk of learning protected characteristics such as age, race, gender or religious affiliation.

Another 48% simply aren’t confident that the information on social media sites is verifiable, and 45% say an applicant’s tweets or Facebook updates simply are irrelevant to their work-related potential or performance.

Less than a quarter (18%) go peeking into the online profiles of job candidates and 25% Google candidates.

I’m a little dubious on the Google part. Even if they don’t use what they find in making hiring decisions, I think everybody Googles everybody these days. My husband once Googled our children, just to see what he’d find. (Nothing, by the way.)

So, what about you? Do you Google job candidates or check out their Twitter feeds? If so, does what you find influence you in hiring? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit Adviser content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access