Written references could become old hat for hiring managers with one in five saying they use social networking sites to research job candidates--and a third of them dismissing the candidate after what they discover.
A survey by online job site CareerBuilder.com of 3,169 hiring managers found 22 percent of them screened potential staff via social networking profiles, up from 11 percent in 2006.
An additional nine percent said they don't currently use social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace to screen potential employees but they do plan to start.
The survey found that 34 percent of the managers who do screen candidates on the Internet found content that made them drop the candidate from any short list.
The top area for concern among the hiring managers with 41 percent citing this as a downfall were candidates posting information about drinking or using drugs.
The second area with 40 percent of concern were candidates posting provocative or inappropriate photographs or information.
Other areas of concern to arise from social network sites were poor communication skills, lying about qualifications, candidates using discriminatory remarks related to race, gender or religion, and an unprofessional screen name.
But the survey found hiring managers scouring social network pages was not all bad with 24 percent of these managers saying they found content to help them solidify their decision to hire that candidate.
Top factors that influenced their hiring decision included candidate's backgrounds supporting their qualifications for the job, proving they had good communications skills, and having a site that conveyed a professional image with a wide range of interests.
"Hiring managers are using the Internet to get a more well-rounded view of job candidates in terms of their skills, accomplishments and overall fit within the company," said CareerBuilder.com spokeswoman Rosemary Haefner in a statement.
"As a result, more job seekers are taking action to make their social networking profiles employer-friendly. Sixteen percent of workers who have social networking pages said they modified the content on their profile to convey a more professional image to potential employers."