What the research says

Looking at the influence of online information


UK employers use online information when examining candidates

Microsoft published two studies to coincide with Data Privacy Day in 2010 (conducted by Cross Tab Marketing Services) looking at the influence of online information as part of job applications and also consumer attitudes to online reputation.

Extracts from the studies concluded:

  • 3% of consumers polled said they believe they have some control over their online reputation, but less than half consider their reputation every time they post information.
  • Only 32% consider the reputations of others.
  • 47% of UK employers use publicly available online information when examining potential job candidates (79% in the US and 59% in Germany).
  • 41% of employers have rejected candidates based on their online reputation (70% in the US).
  • Only 9% of candidates in the UK think prospective employers do this. Mostly employers use search engines (78%) or social networking sites (63%)
  • The most common reason (57%) that a candidate was rejected in the UK was through ‘inappropriate comments or text written by the candidate’. In the US the highest (58%) was concerns about the candidates lifestyle
    • Other examples of reasons for rejection in the UK. 51% unsuitable photos or video
      • 40% comments criticising previous employers, co-workers or clients. 37% inappropriate comments posted by colleagues or work acquaintances. 35% inappropriate comments posted by friends or relatives. 33% membership of certain groups .18% concern about the candidates financial background
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