We know employers and recruiters use social networking sites to vet job candidates and even see what current employees are up to.
Now we have a better insight into how they're using that information, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.
Since 2006, there has been a 17 percent increase in human resources executives who use sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn as recruiting, resume verification and candidate screening tools at least occasionally, according to the survey of nearly 600 HR professionals.
About 3 percent of recruiters are making social networking sites their primary recruiting source.
The study concluded that negative information on an applicant's profile has a greater impact on hiring decisions than positive information.
The No. 1 reason why employers use social networking sites is to recruit applicants who might not be looking for a job, followed by the ability to target candidates with specific skill sets.
About 33 percent of HR executives spend on average one hour a week on social networking sites for recruiting-related purposes, while 15 percent spend five hours.
The survey also showed that recruiters found social networking sites most effective in recruiting nonmanagement and middle-management positions.
Companies that don't use social networking sites noted a lack of staff time and questions about credibility as the top two reasons.
A few weeks ago, I offered job-seeking tips that go beyond the basics.
CareerBuilder.com released a survey this week revealing the most unusual tactics job-seekers used to grab employer attention and get hired.
One in 10 hiring managers of the 3,388 surveyed said they are seeing more job applicants try stunts this year than previous years.
Disclaimer: I'm not endorsing these tactics nor does the survey indicate whether they worked. If you go this route, CareerBuilder suggests that you maintain professionalism.
Here are a few:
* Candidate created an electronic resume with flash animation and musical score.
* Candidate sent a giant cookie with "Hire Skip" written in frosting on it.
* Candidate noticed that the employer wrote a blog about a particular restaurant. She persuaded the restaurant to put her name on the menu so the employer would see it the next time he ate there.
Faux pas: Last week, I wrote about MBA students looking for jobs amid the financial crisis.
I want to clarify that Sean Perschy, a part-time master of business administration student at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, is not looking for a job at a community bank.
I oversimplified his job-searching process in the column.
In fact, Perschy is interested in regional and midmarket banks as well as institutions that have capital markets and community offices, such as Bank of America and BB&T.;
"Investment banks that also have community branches tend to be in a better position in the current credit crisis since they can use deposits as capital," he says.
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