Thursday is Data Privacy Day in the United States, or "Data Protection Day" if you're in Europe.
Yes, there really is a Data Privacy Day. You can't make this stuff up.
In honor of the big event, Microsoft surveyed 2,500 consumers, human resources managers and recruitment professionals in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany to see how the information job seekers post online hurts them in the job search.
The survey was conducted last month.
The findings: 70% of the U.S. human resources managers have rejected job applicants after finding negative information about them online. In fact, American HR managers are the most hardcore about rejecting applicants based on their web footprint in comparison to their European counterparts. 41% of HR managers in the U.K say they've rejected job applicants based on information found online. Only 16% of HR managers in both France and Germany say the same.
However, only 7% of U.S. consumers (i.e., potential job seekers) think that what they post online has affected their job search, and fewer than half think about the damage to their reputations before posting.
When it comes to your web footprint, what doesn't kill you can actually make you stronger: 86% of American HR managers say finding positive information (whatever that means) pushes strong candidates across the line and into the job. Roughly 66% of European HR managers say the same thing. It's time to Photoshop pretty flowers and flying purple unicorns into all your online photos, I guess. One can't be too careful in this terrible job market.
Microsoft has put together a video presentation of the results, and you can find a full report here.