US job seekers scrub their social media accounts to get success

Are you worried that your social media footprint will jeopardize your career? If so, you are not alone.

Survey: Social media is a liability when job hunting (but we still post things we shouldn't)

Many of us behave differently on social media and at work. But what are Americans hiding from their employers, and how far will they go to protect their professional reputations by securing their social media sites?

Pittsburgh, PA-based screening company JDP surveyed 2007 Americans about their social media habits and how job hunting affects these habits.

Over four in five (84%) believe that social media activity regularly impacts hiring decisions, and 82% have set up some degree of privacy on their social media profiles.

One in four have every social platform set to private, and one in five admit to posting material that could jeopardize a current, or future opportunity.

Over two in five (43%) have used privacy settings to avoid employers or co-workers, and 40% have created an alias account.

Almost half (46%) have used a search engine to see what can be found online about them, and have modified their social media settings based on the information that they found. The most incriminating material was found on Facebook.

US job seekers scrub their social media accounts to get success ZDNet


Facebook also tops the list of platforms that users want to keep hidden (45%), followed by Twitter (35%), and Reddit (33%). Only 9% of users want to keep their LinkedIn profiles hidden from employers.

Half of respondents think that employers should not be allowed to look at candidates' social media accounts, perhaps they feel that it is intrusive and would reveal too much about the candidate.

Facebook also is the platform where users are most likely to create alias accounts. Over one in four (27%) Facebook users have created alias accounts and 22% have created alias accounts on Twitter. Only 12% have created an alias account on YouTube.

Seven in ten respondents want to keep their personal life private, 56% want to hide unprofessional behaviour, and 44% want to hide their political views. Almost three out of five (57%) want to hide photos or videos, and 47% want to hide their follows or likes.

Although most users are taking steps to hide their social media from current and future employers, some use social platforms to enhance their presence and attract employers. Almost a third (32%) of users use LinkedIn to attract employers, and 26% use Facebook in this way.

Obviously job candidates will go to great lengths to keep their social media private from employers and their co-workers.

Employers will need to search more deeply if they want to discover what their profile-hiding employees are really doing in their time away from the office. 

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