82% of Job Seekers Try to Hide their Social Media Profiles from You

Social Media and Job Hunting

Background checks are par for the course when it comes to applying for a new job. In the past, this meant checking references, criminal records and even drug use. But with the advent of social media, companies are now trying to check every post from a candidate.

So, it is not surprising 82% of people seeking jobs try to hide their social media profile with some degree of privacy settings. This data comes from a new survey of 2,007 Americans carried out by JDP between July 11 and 12, 2019. The survey looks to find out their social media habits and how job hunting impacts them.

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Whether it is Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat or lesser-known social media channels, there is a lot to dig through. Finding every post from a potential candidate and determining how it will impact your company is a job in itself. But leaving it to chance is not an option if you want to protect your brand.

This survey also brings up another important point about who people are in their private and work lives. According to the survey, most of the people say they are not the same person. And this is one of the reasons 43% say they enable privacy settings. They say it keeps things hidden from their current employer and future social media screenings. So it goes without saying, social media postings have some degree of consequence.

Social Media and Job Hunting

For 84% of the respondents, it is their belief social media regularly impacts hiring decisions. This is more than eight in 10 people.

This has led 50% of them to say employers should not be allowed to look through a candidate’s social media. In order to avoid the possible conflict from this investigative process, 40% create alias accounts and 43% have privacy settings.

As to which platform they want to keep private, Facebook is first at 45%, Twitter (35%), and Reddit at 33%. Instagram, personal website or blog, YouTube, and LinkedIn follow respectively.

Social Media and Job Hunting

Image: JDP

What are Users Hiding?

Today’s workforce is digitally savvy, and they are doing more to protect what they post. It all starts by searching their name online, which is what 46% of the respondents say they do. Based on this finding, they will further conceal their social media presence.

Users are hiding photos and videos (57%), written materials such as statuses and comments (51%), and follows or likes (47%).

The things they want to keep private are their personal life (70%), unprofessional behavior (56%), and political views (44%). And the platform with the most incriminating material for these respondents is Facebook.

Posturing on Social Media

People are also using social media to curate a professional reputation. One in four or 25% say they are actively presenting themselves to attract employers. They do this by liking, posting, or following industry-relevant material.

Not surprisingly, LinkedIn is first in this category with 32% of the respondents. Facebook (26%), Twitter (19%), Instagram (16%), and YouTube (6%) follow.

Be Careful of What you Post

People post almost everything they do online. And any one of these posts can be taken out of context by the person conducting your next interview.

If you are not there to explain it, you could be eliminated during the preliminary selection process. Hopefully, the process is more thorough, but if the HR department is inundated with applicants, this is a possible scenario.

Whether you create an alias account or set your privacy settings, you have to be careful. Once something is posted online, it is out there for the world to discover.

Image: Depositphotos.com


Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

2 Reactions
  1. Is it a healthy thing to try to hide things for a potential employer? Shouldn’t it be a two-way street? Why should potential employees and employers so afraid to show their true colors? Thanks for giving me a food for thought for the development of my new media essentialism methodology.

  2. It may be because they are afraid to be judged by being their authentic selves. Or maybe they are portraying another personality online.

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