Sixty-eight percent of employers admit to ‘Googling’ prospective candidates as part of a referencing check, according to a new survey conducted into attitudes to employment references by leading sales and marketing recruitment consultancy Sales Placement.
The survey was conducted among 70 leading employers of sales and marketing professionals across a number of industries including the FMCG sector (55% ), professional services (28 per cent ), manufacturing (three per cent ), healthcare/pharma (three per cent ), financial services (three per cent ) and agri-food (three per cent ).
According to the findings, 81 per cent of employers will review a candidate’s social media presence as part of the recruitment process, with 72 per cent of respondents checking LinkedIn, 35 per cent checking Facebook and 26 per cent reviewing a candidate’s Twitter account.
Seamus Farrelly, managing director of Sales Placement, elaborates, “The results show an evolution of referencing policies, with a growing emphasis on a candidate’s digital presence. A Google search tends be conducted as a first port of call when making a decision on a candidate and social media profiles have become the ‘first impression’ an employer will tend to get of a potential employee.
“As a leading recruiter of sales, marketing and management professionals, we are urging all our candidates to review their online presence and look at their social media channels through the eyes of a potential employer,” he said.
Seventy-nine per cent of respondents also admit to making ‘off the record’ enquiries about a candidate if they know someone connected to a candidates.
However, illustrating the power of traditional references, 100 per cent of respondents said a reference was of high or reasonable importance when recruiting staff. 80 per cent would not make an offer of employment without first conducting a reference check and a third (33 per cent ) have withdrawn an offer of employment based on a poor reference. Thirty-nine per cent of respondents have been given a negative reference by a referee listed on a CV.
Ninety-eight per cent of respondents cited ‘former employers’ as the preferred referees on CVs with family, friends, and politicians listed among the least preferred.
‘Irrelevant referees’ was one of the biggest annoyances (25 per cent ) of those surveyed with 32 per cent also expressing annoyance at being listed as a referee without first being asked.
A candidate’s attendance, ability to work in a team, people skills, and character were the attributes most frequently asked about when conducting a reference check.