A new survey from CareerBuilder showed 39 percent of firms use social media to research job candidates. As Internet use is widespread and the information people post about themselves is generally public, hiring managers may choose to take advantage of this data during the recruitment process.

Forty-three percent of those surveyed said that they had encountered something on a candidate's social media profile that caused them to decide not to hire the candidate. The reasons ranged from descriptions of illegal activity to poor communication skills. Hiring managers have to ensure that they obtain the best talent, whether as permanent or temporary workers. Using social media in this way may save the time, expense and trouble of hiring a candidate who turns out not to be a good fit for the company.

On the other hand, 19 percent of hiring managers found something on a candidate's social media page that influenced their decision positively. Whether this was an indication of a well-rounded lifestyle or demonstration of a pleasant personality, these incidents prove that using social media to screen candidates is not punitive. It is simply a tool for those in the human resources administration community, and one that can be very useful.

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