We hope your Facebook account is set to private. A new survey of 300 HR professionals found that what's online could make or break your job prospects — more even than a résumé. The survey, commissioned by Domain.ME (the company that owns .me domains) found that one in five human resource professionals screen candidates on Facebook — and nearly 50% would check Facebook "sometimes." Meanwhile, a solid 25% do a quick Google search on potential hires. So your Facebook photos and Twitter updates? Those are considered part of your employment bid, right alongside your work history.
"The biggest thing the research found was that social media gave human resource employees negative information, rather than positive," Natasa Djukanovic, sales and marketing director for Domain.ME said on a call. According to the survey, 61% of the HR pros were using what they found online to help identify "red flags." Of those surveyed, 71% would most likely overlook a candidate with risqué photographs, 69% would dismiss a candidate if they saw negative comments about work, and 60% would consider photos of partying or drinking alcohol as a sign to not hire a candidate. Only 30% would eliminate a candidate if they saw controversial opinions regarding social or political issues. Of course, some online presence is better than none — and some forms are better than others. More than half of employers said a personal website makes a "positive, professional impression." "Having a personal website or landing page is the best way to present your knowledge and your interest and make your CV accessible online," Djukanovic says. "Recruiters want a personal website to help them better define the person they are looking at." As for a personal blog? The findings show that recruiters would be less likely to consider those an asset. The takeaway: Set your Facebook settings to private, watch your Twitter feed, and yes, maybe invest in a personal site. And please, leave your Tumblr off your résumé.