Blog Post

Survey: More Employers Use Facebook To Vet New Hires Than LinkedIn

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Facebook may be the stickiest social network here in the U.S. — but LinkedIn is thought to be the default network for a “professional” profile and job history. So why are more employers using Facebook to do background checks on potential new hires than LinkedIn?

Almost 30 percent of hiring managers said they were using Facebook to research new hires, according to new survey data from CareerBuilder — edging out the 26 percent that said they were using LinkedIn.

That doesn’t surprise eMarketer Senior Analyst Debra Aho Williamson, who said that while LinkedIn was very good at being an “online resume,” it was also increasingly important for employers to see how a potential new hire would act outside of work. “Facebook is where people spend their personal time, and until the network finds a better way for people to segment what info outsiders can see, it’s all fair game for employers,” Williamson said.

That lends more credence to Facebook members’ requests for less complex, more transparent privacy controls — but also points to a potentially untapped revenue stream: if employers are using the network to check up on candidates, maybe they’d want to pay to post job listings on Facebook as well.

The CareerBuilder survey also shows how quickly social network searches have become an integral part of the recruitment process: overall, nearly half (45 percent) of survey respondents said they were checking new hires’ social media profiles, up from just 22 percent last year. (Which is likely why the company launched its own career-centric social net,, per SAI). CareerBuilder polled over 2,600 hiring managers in June for the data.

11 Responses to “Survey: More Employers Use Facebook To Vet New Hires Than LinkedIn”

  1. Byron Landry

    Turk – it looks like the comments you are quoting are from people that have no idea how to leverage the power of these technologies and possibly have never used them, but yet feel empowered to speak out against them. These are people that are scared and afraid of being left behind because they can't keep up, and thus feel a need to lash out because they have nothing useful to contribute.

    People – educate yourself. Learn to how use new tools, because the world isn't going to wait for you.

  2. Turk Winkleton

    "Most people who use Linked in are at more of executive level, consultants, firms you want to hire, etc. " – FALSE

    "Remember, HR is not the sharpest group in any given company." – but they are still smarter than you.

    "They only think more over rated is Twitter!!" – you are the definition of a luddite. Also, great misspelling of thing.

    "I thank the day that I personally decided to forgo these social ‘strip clubs'" – Ummm…WHAT?

  3. Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with &#

    I would expect the usual procedure to be *looking for* job candidates on LinkedIn (since that's where you're going to find their professional skills and experience) and then *investigating* them on Facebook, MySpace, etc.

    This kind of background check could bring an employer into conflict with the law: But as with any form of discrimination, there's the difficulty of proving it.

    If you really want your private life to be private, keep it offline.

  4. This is nonsense. Basically, employers are trying to spy on potential applicants. Is this really 'vetting'. That's moronic, not to mention potentially illegal! Leave it up to HR morons to do this sort of stuff. Remember, HR is not the sharpest group in any given company. TIP: If you really want to get some good info on a candidate, just look at who they are connected to on Linkedin. Gee, maybe are they people in the industry? Compare to links on Facebook. Gee, are they maybe x-lovers, want to be lovers, drinking buddies, cousins. Oh, that really tells me a lot use actionable data. LOL! More Facebook BS. I've almost completely stopped using Facebook. They only think more over rated is Twitter!!

  5. Facebook's transparency issue becomes more comical everyday! Not only is it affecting peoples relationships – for bad as well as good- but it is also affecting members desirability in the employment marketplace! I thank the day that I personally decided to forgo these social 'strip clubs' in order to have control over my personal brand. I would suggest more people approach it from that perspective or god knows what opportunity it costs you down the line!

  6. patricia

    Not surprising though. Most people who use Linked in are at more of executive level, consultants, firms you want to hire, etc. For most regular employees, Facebook, MySpace, etc. are better.

  7. I'm not sure what employers are seeing on Facebook when the majority of a user's data is blocked and only accessible when two profiles are connected. The only thing I can think of is that the employer friends the candidate and the candidates accepts, but I can't imagine that happening very often.

  8. Ian Hendry

    LinkedIn runs the risk of getting left behind unless it ups its game.

    If Google decided one day to start promoting the existing Google Profiles we all have, prompting us to complete our career history fields, then it's curtains for LinkedIn; few people would make it beyond Google when searching for professionals.

    It offers little in the way of tools to broker valuable new relationships with people who may be looking to deal with a business like yours. So it doesn't score as a very effective business development tool.

    And they seem to be doing nothing to integrate the service with 'Social CRM' systems, beyond taking money from SAP in their last funding round.

    For all the buzz that surrounds LinkedIn, it seems to be an upturned swan — lots of thrashing around and excitement on the surface, but little activity underneath!

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ