Employers Will Check Your Online Identity

January 28, 2010 was the 4th annual Data Privacy Day. The Microsoft-sponsored “holiday” was established to raise awareness and educate consumers regarding online privacy issues. In accordance with the day, Micosoft also released survey results detailing consumers’ online web use and privacy.

The survey revealed that the majority of employers do use the Internet to check for background information on a job candidate. This is another reminder to mind your manners on social networking sites. Even if you are not in the job market now, don’t post anything that you might regret down the road.

Here are some of the staggering survey results:

  • Between 30-35% of respondents believed online reputations would not impact their personal or professional lives.
  • Almost 80% of survey participants have not checked to see what others have posted about them on the Internet.
  • 70 percent of HR workers admitted to rejecting a candidate because of his or her Internet use.
  • A large majority of recruiters and HR professionals use online tools as a background check-
    Search engines: 78%
    Social networking sites: 63%
    Photo and video sharing sites: 59%
    Professional and business networking sites: 57%
    Personal Web sites: 48%
    Blogs: 46%
    News sharing sites (Twitter): 41%
    Online forums and communities: 34%
    Virtual world sites: 32%
    Web sites that aggregate personal information:  32%
    Online gaming sites: 27%
    Professional background checking services: 27%
    Classifieds and auction sites: 25%
    None of these: 2%
    Source: Online Reputation research, Microsoft and Cross-Tab      Marketing  Services

More statistics from the study
Data Privacy Day 2010


Cassie is a May 2009 University of Wisconsin-Madison Ag Journalism graduate. She recently joined SPARK Advertising in Neenah, Wis. as a full-time public relations specialist. Find Cassie on TwitterBrazenCareerist, and LinkedIn.

Related posts:

  1. Be Like Batman. Create a New Identity on LinkedIn.
  2. Personal Branding Basics: It’s All About Managing Your Online Reputation
  3. Being Online Means Being In Line for a Job

7 Responses to “Employers Will Check Your Online Identity”

  1. avatar jason says:

    Its good you are bringing this up. You’d be surprised how many employers check websites like myspace, facebook, twitter etc. I usually don’t post too much info on these types of sites. Sites that do provide a positive look might be linkedin for the industry and perhaps cestagi for academia, that simply summarize your accomplishments as oppose to your private life …

  2. @Jason It is the norm now for employers to check social networking sites and I think its great you’re taking a cautious approach. The truth is, our “public” and “private” lives are becoming so blurred online, that I think employers expect to see a little bit or our personal side on social networks. The trick is keeping the personal side appropriate. The internet holds terrific promotional tools if used effectively. Thanks for reading!

  3. [...] to Cassie Holman on Student Branding Blog, 70% of HR workers rejected a candidate based on their Internet [...]

  4. avatar Irene says:

    anyone has a personal exxperience with this?

  5. avatar grace says:

    i think people should be informed about this. they should know that what they do online isn’t as private as they think it is. my mother is a manager of a business and i know that she has checked social networking sites before she has hired someone multiple times.

  6. [...] Assignment 2 Posted on January 31, 2011 by krisckeller Online identity is how a person is represented on the internet, or basically how someone is identified on the web. It affects the person personally by revealing information that may be private to anyone with internet access. I believe it is important to protect your online identity for many reasons. It is important for job opportunities, described by this article > [...]

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