In a survey we conducted in the summer of 2009 we asked 633 job-seekers, 553 recruiters (264 corporate, 215 contingent, 72 retained) and 119 career coaches / counselors if , where, and how they do informal background investigations (both online and off) on the other.
The results (below) clearly show that they do – just like the Geico googly eyes, somebody is watching you and they will use that information to decide whether to hire you (the higher the bar, the higher the frequency with which each area is used to do research).
The moral of the story is that if it would embarrass your Granny, you need not do it (or post it). For ideas on what is appropriate (particularly in status updates and tweets) check out Why Should I Be Interested In Your Status Update / Tweet?
To see more results from our survey check out the following posts: