Are your tweets costing you a new IT job?

Would you change your digital persona if you were job hunting and knew hiring managers might check out your social media activity? IT pros are split on the issue.

Half of IT workers said they might (22%) or would (28%) modify or delete content on a social media site if they knew a prospective employer was going to review their page as part of the interview process. The other 50% said they wouldn’t alter any content under those circumstances.

The source of the data is Technisource, which provides IT staffing and technology deployment services. This summer the firm polled 508 IT workers, age 20 and older, on the subject of social media use by IT pros.

Most IT pros (82 per cent) use at least one social media site, the study found. The most common social media site among IT professionals is Facebook (used by 87 per cent), followed by LinkedIn (72 per cent), Twitter (31 per cent), Youtube (31 per cent), MySpace (24 per cent) and (20 per cent).

In the minority were 18% of respondents who say they don’t have an account at any social media site. Asked why, the most common reasons cited were: no need (56 per cent), no time (31 per cent), and it’s too much work to keep up with (31 per cent).

On the policy front, there’s no clear consensus on company rules. Asked if their companies have a formal policy regarding the use of social media sites for work, 40 per cent said yes, 38 per cent said no and 22 per cent didn’t know. Just three per cent percent of IT workers admit to getting in trouble at work for content posted to a social media site.

Respondents are also split on whether to “friend” or connect with their boss through social media: 37 per cent said no, 32 per cent said yes, and 32 per cent said maybe.

Not surprisingly, recruiting and networking activities are common on social media sites, Technisource found.

One-third (32 per cent) of IT workers say they’ve been approached about a career opportunity via a social media site. Among them, 82 per cent were approached through LinkedIn, 22 per cent through Facebook and 10 per cent through Twitter.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent of respondents have searched for at least one job using their various social networks. Of those, 85 per cent say they primarily use LinkedIn to look for jobs. (See also: 10 best IT jobs right now)  

Roughly one-third (35 per cent) say the majority of their networking is done through social media, compared to 33 per cent who use face-to-face interaction. Networking via phone (12 per cent) or through associations (11 per cent) is much less prevalent among IT workers these days.

“Social media is clearly taking on a bigger role for both candidates and employers,” said Michael Winwood, president of Technisource, in a statement.

The full Technisource report, Social Media Use by IT Professionals, is available here.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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