hat.jpgThere’s been a lot written lately on how employers and recruiters are doing all they can to dig up dirt on employees and job seekers, but in reality not every manager is putting on their Sherlock Holmes hat.

Yes, it’s disturbing to hear that some hiring managers are asking for Facebook passwords from job candidates; and there’s nothing worse than employers who dig into the credit histories of job applicants. Criminal background checks are also a thorn in the side of many workers, especially those who get nixed for a job even though they may have never been convicted of a crime.

But in reality, Big Brother has not taken over the workplace.

A recent study by EmployeeScreenIQ, a worker screening provider, found that many companies are not rushing to the web or any place else to look you up.

It turns out, “employers are split regarding their use of social networking websites as part of the background screening process. 48 percent of respondents consult these sites as part of their screening process (only 9% say they always consult this sites), while 52 percent say they never do,” according to the study. “Despite the potential they might hold, social networking websites are not yet widely accepted as trusted background-checking resource.”

Workers aren’t out of the woods yet, however. The researchers also said, “We anticipate that the trend of those who utilize these sites as a screening tool will only increase in the coming years.”

For now, it’s time to take a deep breath and realize not every job will hinge on your past; well other than your actual work experience.

Here are some other interesting findings from the EmployeeScreenIQ analysis:

Prevalence of Criminal Records:
68% of respondents estimate that 10 percent or less of their job candidates have criminal records. This finding diverges significantly from EmployeeScreenIQ’s 13-year experience working with employers across the globe, who collectively averaged a 23 percent criminal conviction rate in 2011. We believe this discrepancy is largely a result of a misperception on the part of employers about the screening methods and depth of information offered by their screening providers.

Qualifications vs. Criminal Records: 72 percent of respondents say that qualifications are more important than a criminal record. In fact, this sentiment is borne out in a number of areas within the survey results, including participants’ comments.

Criminal Records’ Impact On Hiring:
Candidates are not hired because of their criminal records less than 10 percent of the time, according to 70 percent of respondents. Again, this supports employers’ claims that an applicant’s qualifications, references and interviewing skills are ultimately more important than a criminal history.

Distorting Resume Information: A vast majority of respondents estimate that up to 40 percent of candidates distort or exaggerate information on their resumes. 83% of respondents say that fabricating educational qualifications is the most egregious resume distortion.

Division Over Online Universities: Employers are divided on the legitimacy of online universities. 45 percent believe that online universities are less credible than brick-and-mortar universities, while 55 percent do not. For employers who are ambivalent about this issue, the next few years will likely help them clarify their positions, as more and more trusted, brick-and-mortar schools are expected to add online programs.

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