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Inappropriate online photos reduce chances of finding employment, survey finds

Tom Newcombe , 06 Dec 2012

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Graduates who display drunken photos on their social media profiles reduce their chance of gaining an interview by 70%, according to a US/UK study published today by security software firm, AVG Technologies.

The report, Digital Baggage, found that the majority of 18-25-year-olds had never reviewed their online profile, which could potentially impact on their career prospects.

The research found that the majority of HR professionals admitted they wouldn't consider interviewing a candidate if they had seen drunken pictures of them online. And it claimed over half of 18-25-year-olds have never even audited their online profile and one in three were 'Facebook friends' with their boss.

It claimed recruiters could verify that young adults were not managing their profiles effectively, with nearly half concluding that this age group was unaware of the need to act responsibly online.

The report found that over two-thirds of HR professionals had been positively influenced by the online presence of a job applicant. Nearly three-quarters of HR professionals surveyed for the report stated that they relied on LinkedIn to conduct their online searches.

It also claimed that within a competitive market, there were major advantages for savvy candidates to differentiate themselves by proactively managing, and contributing to, their online profile.

Tony Anscombe, senior security evangelist for AVG Technologies, said: "The research shows that the internet, and social networks in particular, have changed the way that HR professionals approach the recruitment process.

"Nowadays, online content posted about, or by, a candidate, has become the modern-day equivalent of a first interview."

Anscombe added: "I would encourage consumers to take control of their online privacy and more than ever, young adults need to proactively manage their online brand to avoid missing out on career opportunities."

The report featured responses from 200 HR professionals and 4,400 18-25-year-olds in the UK and US. It was conducted online in October 2012.

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Baseless and illogical reasoning

Shoz Rahman 09 Dec 2012

I worry about the nonsensical and bizarre beliefs which some HR professionals hold, and how baseless methods are now being deployed in recruitment. Many, many people, young as well as old get drunk, and not everyone will get featured on an on-line photograph. Being featured in a photograph does not indicate that the individual harbours a drink problem and there is no evidence to suggest that there is a correlation between appearing in these photographs and work performance or conduct at work. To those HR professionals who exclude these candidates, what is the evidence for your beliefs? Do the same HR professionals manage out existing employees when they become drunk at social or even at corporate events, and photographs become available? Such illogical reasoning should have no place in recruitment processes.

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