Tech firms rejecting job applicants based on their social media profile

IBM this week handed graduates advice on how to responsibly manage their online presence

One in five technology firms has rejected a job applicant because of his or her social media profile, according to a Eurocom Worldwide Survey.

The annual study had previously found that almost 40 percent of respondents checked out potential employee's profiles on social media sites, but this is the first year that companies had confirmed that they had rejected applicants based on their digital presence.

"The 21st century human is learning that every action leaves an indelible digital trail. In the years ahead many of us will be challenged by what we are making public in various social forums today," said Mads Christensen, network director at Eurocom Worldwide.

"The face the one in five applicants disqualify themselves from an interview because of content in the social media sphere is a warning to job seekers and a true indicator of the digital reality we now live in."

Computerworld UK attended an e-Skills event this week where students and graduates of the ITMB degree gathered to discuss skills and meet with employers. IBM's professional development manager, Kate Ross, was speaking at the event and highlighted to those attending the importance of responsibly managing their social media profile.

"It is important to manage your digital presence and look after things like your Facebook page because we definitely look at it when you apply for a job with us," said Ross.

"We place value on applicants with a strong digital presence and we have a lot of graduates coming through with their own websites and the most amazing Twitter feeds. We are all encouraged internally at IBM to build our digital eminence."

Ross went on to hand all the students attending a list of social media guidelines for those applying for jobs with tech firms, entitled 'Managing Reputation in the Digital World: IBM Recommendations for Applicants and Prospective Employees'.

It reads: "Each individual is responsible for their digital reputation, and should carefully and actively manage their reputation in the digital world, a world where information and images they post can go public and spread rapidly and can be seen and possibly considered by potential employers."

The guidelines advise students to think before they post on a social network, remain positive and constructive, to consider the long-term and to strive for professionalism.

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Derek du Preez

IDG News Service

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