Facebook becomes a tool to screen job candidates

Job-hunting? Here's one reason to consider removing those college pictures of the beer bash from your Facebook page: 45 percent of employers say they use online networking sites to vet job candidates, according to a new CareerBuilder survey.

More employers said they searched social sites such as Facebook than professional sites like LinkedIn. And 35 percent of employers surveyed said they found content that led them to not hire a candidate.

"Social networking is a great way to make connections with potential job opportunities and promote your personal brand across the Internet," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "Make sure you are using this resource to your advantage."

The percentage of employers who search sites like Facebook is up from 22 percent in a similar survey last year, CareerBuilder said. "Another 11 percent plan to start using social networking sites for screening."

More than 2,600 hiring managers participated in the survey, completed in June. Among employers that conduct online searches and background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace. Eleven percent said they search blogs, and 7 percent follow candidates on Twitter, the service that allows users to send out updates in 140 characters or less.

The industries most likely to screen candidates are information technology, 63 percent, and professional and business services, 53 percent.

Online material found most problematic includes inappropriate pictures and use of drugs or alcohol.

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