From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to Snapchat and LinkedIn, each platform has its own purpose and intention depending on the user. But how much should someone’s personal social media impact their job opportunities?
Employers and Social Media
There’s been a growing debate as social media platforms’ prominence continues to grow. According to a 2015 study by CareerBuilder, 52% of companies say they check the social media profiles of job applicants before hiring them. But the perception in 2019 is even higher – 84% of people believe social media regularly impacts hiring decisions, according to a recently published study by JDP.
Job seekers and current employees appear to be pushing back against possible company intrusions into their personal space, online. Of those surveyed by JDP, half say they don’t believe employers should be allowed to look for, or seek out, candidates’ social media profiles. As a precaution, 82% have some degree of privacy settings enabled on their social media, and 40% go so far as to make an alias account altogether.
The desire to mask or hide their digital footprint appears to be growing. Almost half of people say they’ve plugged their names into search engines to see what appears, and then took steps to further conceal posts from their social media.
How Much To Keep Private?
The number one thing people are trying to keep private are their photos and videos. The majority of employees (70%) say they’re trying to keep their private lives actually private, and more than half say they don’t want current or future employers to see examples of potentially “unprofessional” behavior they’ve shared with their social media followers. An additional 44% of people are concerned about their political views being discovered through likes, followers, and posts.
So how else are employees pushing back?
It starts with privacy settings and limiting contact. One in three people surveyed by JDP say they refuse to connect with coworkers even after accepting a position at their company. Half say they’ve removed old profiles or posts in an attempt to protect their professional reputation, and two-in-three say they’re most closely scrubbing their Facebook profiles of such material.
While attempting to resist potential employer intrusions on some, more personal, social media outlets, many people are trying to bolster more professional ones.
Employees want their employers to see things that they deem as being more professional. Not surprisingly, their doing it on platforms like LinkedIn. Roughly one-in-four people say they actively present themselves more professional online to attract employers by liking, posting, and following industry-relevant material. Posturing can be both a proactive and reactive response to potential employer intrusions, as job seekers and employees alike try to curate their digital footprint to put their best-foot-forward in 2019.
This guest post was authored by Tricia Harte
Tricia Harte is Outreach Manager at Digital Third Coast. As a former reporter and television anchor she helps connect published research and narratives with the right publications.
How do you feel about employer access to your social media? Let us know in the comments. If you have a personal story to share, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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