More than a quarter of employers have used or plan to use social networking sites to screen potential employees, new research has revealed.

According to a survey conducted by, 15 per cent of companies have checked the online profiles of job applicants in the past.

In addition, 12 per cent said they intend to do so in the future in order to get a more well-rounded view of the candidates applying for jobs within their organisation.

Employers said some information contained on social networking profile pages would cause them to eliminate applicants.

This includes inappropriate photographs, information about drinking or drug taking, discriminatory comments and evidence that candidates have lied about their skills and qualifications.

However, the research also shows that many employers are using social networking sites to find and recruit potential employees.

Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported that researchers at Goldsmith College in London had suggested that banning the use of social networking sites at work can demoralise employees and result in lower productivity.