A massive 64% of HR managers think it is appropriate to look at online profiles of candidates for work and 41% have rejected people as a result.
Jobseekers are warned to keep control of their details online to make sure they do not miss that dream job.
Research released by Microsoft to coincide with Data Protection Day describes the professional risks people take if they fail to keep their online reputation up to date.
Online services such as social media can have benefits for jobseekers, but they need to manage information about them to avoid it becoming out of date or irrelevant.
According to Charles Ashworth, managing director of recruitment company Brook Street Bureau, said the company looks online for candidates. "Our consultants complete thorough pre-screening and selection practices to meet these requirements, which can include online checks."
Microsoft recommends that people keep their online profiles up to date and accurate.
Social networking means databases of potential job applicants, once the prize possessions of recruitment companies, are now public property. Responsibility for managing the information is with the owner.
Microsoft, for example, saved thousands of pounds recruiting technical staff through LinkedIn rather than hiring a headhunter.
Last year, Microsoft recruiter Declan Fitzgerald said, "Finding nine techies with skills in the rare Assembly and X86 software languages is not that easy and traditional methods would not work." By using social networking site LinkedIn, he was able to find suitable people and saved about £60,000 in recruitment company fees.
David Bloxham, director of Recruitment Services at recruitment company GCS, said websites such as linkedIn in are becoming the first stop for recruitment companies.
"There is a huge shift in the way recruiters work. There are tools today that mean a recruiter can scan the web for a person's profile as soon as they get an e-mail," he added.
Bloxham said you have to work hard to increase your online profile. This can be done in a number of ways:
- Join as many online groups as possible
- Get as many recommendations as possible
- Affiliate with hubs in your network