One-Third of Companies Have Disqualified Job Candidates in Past Year for Questionable Social Media Activity, SHRM Survey Shows

Recruiting passive job candidates remains top reason organizations use social media for recruitment; mobile recruiting is on the rise

January 7, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Over one-third of companies have disqualified a job candidate in the past year because of concerns about information found on public social media or an online search, according to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey released today.

Candidates were disqualified for illegal activity and discrepancies with job applications, among other reasons. However, two out of five organizations (39 percent) also allowed those candidates to explain any concerning information, an increase of 13 percentage points compared to 2011.

“Social media is another way recruiters verify applicants’ employment history and ensure that they are still viable applicants,” said Evren Esen, director of survey programs at SHRM. “Social media is here to stay, so employers and employees are utilizing it in various ways throughout the job search process.”

Recruiting passive job candidates remains the top reason that organizations use social media for recruitment. Currently, 84 percent of organizations use social media to recruit and 9 percent plan to use it.

Infographic:Who do recruiters look for on social media?

While most organizations use social media to post job advertisements (89 percent), three-quarters use it to contact candidates, and over two-thirds use it to search for passive or active job candidates. Companies that did not use social media for recruiting cited concerns about legal risk (e.g., discovering protected characteristics such as race, religion, age, etc.) and lack of human resources staff time as the top reasons (both at 46 percent).

Mobile recruiting is also a popular tool among companies, with two-thirds of organizations (66 percent) currently leveraging it.

“Smartphone popularity has exploded, so the use of mobile – for both employers and job seekers – is a natural evolution for recruiting using technology,” Esen explained. “Companies are adapting to technology and to workers’ interests and, in doing so, they are saving time.”

Employers have adapted to mobile users by optimizing careers websites and job postings, adding mobile-enabled job applications, and making careers websites more prominent on company homepages.

The full survey is available online at

For more surveys/poll findings, visit Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Vanessa Gray at 703-6072 and or Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 and

About the Society for Human Resource Management
​Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @SHRMPress.



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