Employers Look at Facebook Too

By: Marilyn Soto Cebollero

Criteria used by different employers to recruit their employees may vary according to the size of their workforce and interpretation of its regulations by its management staff and human resources office. We all know that the first step to find a job is to hand in a resumé. However, for many companies that piece of paper containing your work history and proffesional experience is not enough.

In some cases, employers call your old supervisors for references and verification of information. This is the classic method that employers have used for decades to research your proffesional and character background. According to the website Facebooknoticias.com, each day more companies adopt a new method to know you better before hiring you, the well known social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, among others.

Gerardo Soto, Chemical Engineer and Hiring Manager of his area, said that biotechnology companies in Puerto Rico are adopting the social network method as a filter of their candidates for proffesional positions. “We look for the person’s social behavior because it could affect the company’s image,” said Soto. He added that they also look for positive highlights of the candidate, like professional publications and good communication skills.

Elisa Cruz, a Human Resources analyst of the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, disagrees with the social network screening of the job candidates. “Facebook is like a paper, it holds everything you write”said Cruz. She added that UPRM Human Resources Office use the Internet only if they have doubts about universities and their accreditations, concerning to the education of the candidate. “If I can’t verify certain information, I don’t considerate it,” said Cruz.

According to Oregonbusinessreport.com, 45% of employers use social networks to screen job candidates; 29% use Facebook, 26% use LinkedIn, 21% use MySpace, 11% search blogs while 7% follow candidates on Twitter. This website also reports that the top industries most likely to screen job candidates via social networking sites include those that specialize in technology and sensitive information: Information Technology (63%) and Professional & Business Services (53%). (Survey conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com between May 22 and June 10, 2009 among 2,667 hiring managers and human resource professionals (employed full-time; not self-employed; with at least significant involvement in hiring decisions; non- government) ages 18 and over.)

This new hiring trend should be considered by everyone in the job market and also those close to entering the workforce, as all posted information today could potentially have an effect on the next hiring manager that evaluates their profile. All social networking sites constantly update their privacy policies and posted information might become public if the profile holder does not update privacy preferences, which means anyone, including a potential employeer can now every detail of your life that you have made available. Oregonbusinessreport.com reports that 35% of employers have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate.  

What are recruiters looking for? The top reasons after screening online that cause not to hire a person are: to find provocative or inappropiate photographs, content about the candidate drinking or using drugs, candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients, poor communication skills and/or discriminatory comments. 

Inappropiate pictures are one of the top reasons employers disregarded job candidates after screening online.



Nevertheless, there are reasons after screening candidates online that encourages the employer to hire them. The top ones are: profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit; profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications; candidate was creative; candidate showed solid communication skills; candidate was well-rounded, other people posted good references about the candidate and candidate received awards and accolades.
(The reasons of hiring or not before the online screening in social network sites were reported by Jennifer Grasz, CareerBuilder Media contact, in an article for the Oregon Business Report website.)

Careerbuilder.com gives some recommendations of do’s and don’ts for use this resource to your advantage:


  •  Clean up digital dirt before you begin your job search; remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes.
  • Join groups selectively (employers look for mature persons, thus you end with virtual groups like “I Drink More Beer than Water”).
  • Consider to create your own professional group to establish contact with great recruiters and though leaders.
  • Keep gripes offline, keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information, makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.



  • Don’t forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the “block comments” feature or setting your profile to “private” so only designated friends can view it.
  • Don’t mention your job search if you’re still employed.
  • Don’t badmouth your current or previous employer.

It is important for people who aspire for change, a fruitful career or just a new job to be mindful with the content posted on their social network profiles. We must consider the consequences before acting, knowing that what you do today might affect the course of the rest of your life.

In these difficult financial times, missing a good job opportunity is a risk we cannot afford to take. Is it fair? Is this a new type of discrimination? New trends come with new questions. As employers increase the use of social networking websites to evaluate candidates, new rules will have to be set in place to control the type of information that they should be allowed to use to evaluate you for a job.

According to Cnnexpansión.com, the labor market is declining significantly and the number of people unemployed is increasing. It would be sad to admit that our behavior in social network sites is causing active job seekers to be denied of employment, especially in these times of economic crisis. The new generation, having unlimited access to technology, as some of previous generations have not had should start using these resources responsibly and in our advantage, underscoring our qualifications and conveying a professional image. It is never to early to start thinking about your future, considering that what you post today can prevent you from getting your dream job in the future.

45% of employers use social network sites to screen job candidates.



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