UK graduates with inappropriate online photos 70 per cent less likely to get job interviews

- Young job seekers naïve about impact of their online profiles -

AMSTERDAM – 5th December, 2012 – UK graduates who display drunken photos on their social media profiles reduce their chances of gaining an interview by 70 per cent, AVG Technologies’ latest Digital Diaries study reveals. The study of UK HR Professionals, also found that 90 per cent search for unprotected social media profiles in order to assess a candidate’s suitability.

Digital Baggage, the sixth instalment of AVG’s Digital Diaries study, features responses from 230 HR Professionals in the UK and US and 4,400 18-25 year olds in 11 countries to AVG’s questions on managing social network profiles.

Alarmingly the research also found that the majority of 18-25 year olds had never reviewed their online profile, which could potentially impact on their career prospects. Recruiters can verify that young adults are not managing their profiles effectively, with nearly half concluding that this age group are unaware of the need to act responsibly online.

However, in contrast, over two thirds of HR Professionals had actually been positively influenced by the online presence of a job applicant. Nearly three-quarters of HR Professionals state that they rely on LinkedIn to conduct their online searches. Within a competitive job market, there are major advantages for savvy-candidates to differentiate themselves by proactively managing, and contributing to their online profile.

Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist for AVG Technologies commented: “AVG’s latest research shows that the Internet, and social networks in particular, has changed the way that HR professionals approach the recruitment process.  Nowadays, online content posted about, or by a candidate, has become the modern day equivalent of a first interview.  Our research emphasises that our digital brand is potentially just as important as our CV.  AVG encourages consumers to take control of their online privacy and more than ever, young adults need to proactively manage their online brand to avoid missing out on career opportunities.”

Other key findings include:

HR Professionals

  • Range of social media platforms used to vet candidates:  UK recruiters are accessing potential candidates using a range of social media platforms, Facebook (85 per cent); Twitter (47 per cent); You Tube (23 per cent); Instagram (16 per cent); Flicker (15 per cent)
  • 72 per cent of recruiters rely on LinkedIn to conduct their searches
  • Profiles on LinkedIn deemed unreliable by recruiters: Only one in three recruiters fully trust the information candidates post about themselves.
  • Over half of recruiters have turned down a job applicant because of their online profile
  • 65 per cent also view the content they find online about a candidate as very important
  • US HR Professionals stricter than UK: HR Professionals in the US are much more likely to discount applicants due to online discoveries than UK counterparts, with 84 per cent turning down those with drunken pictures – compared to 70 per cent in the UK, and 91 per cent turning down those with nude photos – compared to 75 per cent in the UK.


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About AVG Digital Diaries

The first stage of AVG’s Digital Diaries campaign, Digital Birth, focused on children from birth to age two. The study, released in October 2010, found that on average, infants acquire a digital identity by the age of six months old. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parent – establishing a digital footprint even before birth. The second stage, Digital Skills, was released in January 2011 and showed that for two to five year olds, ‘tech’ skills are increasingly replacing ‘life’ skills. In fact, many toddlers could use a mouse and play a computer game, but could not ride a bike, swim or tie their shoelaces. 

Digital Playground, released in June 2011, found nearly half of six to nine year olds talk to friends online and use social networks. This was followed with Digital Maturity in November 2011, which revealed how 11 year olds had developed adult skills in technology.  Digital Coming of Age, the fifth instalment of AVG’s Digital Diaries study released in April 2012, which interviewed parents of 14-17 year olds, found that nearly half of parents keep tabs on teens via Facebook, latest AVG Technologies’ research reveals.

Research for all stages of the Digital Diaries series was conducted by Research Now on behalf of AVG Technologies. 


About AVG

AVG's mission is to simplify, optimize and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG's powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG's software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to 143 million active users as of September 30, 2012 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimization, online backup, mobile security, identity protection and family safety software.


Alastair McCormick


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