Robert Half Technology
While social networking can significantly help employees in their jobs, it may also jeopardize their careers or their chances at being hired.
Because social media is a dominant form of communication today, you can certainly learn a lot about a person by viewing their public, online personas. —Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuiilder

That angry status update about how lame your boss is acting? Delete it.

New research from CareerBuilder found that more than one third of companies surveyed use social networking sites to check out job candidates.

More than 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals from a variety of industries were surveyed about their use of prospective employees' online information, according to Media Jobs Daily.

In addition to the 37 percent who currently use social media in their hiring decisions, 11 percent of those surveyed said they planned to start using it.

"Because social media is a dominant form of communication today, you can certainly learn a lot about a person by viewing their public, online personas," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuiilder.

Hiring managers used the social media information, found mostly on Facebook and LinkedIn, for a variety of reasons. Most (65 percent) surveyed said they looked online to see if the prospective employee presented himself or herself professionally. About half of the hiring managers wanted to learn whether the candidate would fit well with the company's culture.

Other reasons reported were to see if the candidate was well-rounded (35 percent), to learn about further qualifications (45 percent) and to look for reasons not to hire the individual (12 percent).

Among the hiring managers who are using social media now to consider possible employees, one third reported finding information that stopped them from hiring an individual. Those unimpressive posts included provocative or inappropriate photos; information about alcohol or drug use; poor communication skills; bad-mouthing an employer; discriminatory commentary about race, religion and gender; and lying about qualifications.

On the other hand, almost as many hiring managers (29 percent of those currently using social media for hiring information) said they had found information that gave the candidate's application a boost. The content they liked included a professional image; a well-rounded person with a variety of interests; good communication skills; background information that supported an indvidual's career credentials; and creativity.

Haefner had advice for prospective employees, according to Media Jobs Daily. "If you choose to leave social media content public, tailor the message to your advantage," she said. "Filter out anything that can tarnish your professional reputation and post communications, links and photos that portray you in the best possible light."