Half of candidates delete old social media profiles to hide them from employers

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A new report has found that up to 50% of candidates have removed social media posts or profiles in an attempt to protect their professional image with prospective employers.

Many employers now routinely screen the social media profiles of candidates in order to help ensure that applicants will be a good fit for their organisation and to rule out anyone who might not sit well within the company ethos. But as this survey has shown, many companies may not be getting the full picture.

The report states the types of posts most often deleted include those that contain personal information, unprofessional behaviour or references to political views, with Facebook being the most highly censored platform. 43% of those surveyed stated that they use privacy settings to hide certain information from employers and co-workers, and 40% had gone to the lengths of opening an alias account for professional use.

Social media screening can form a valuable part of a comprehensive screening programme, and can highlight undesirable characteristics, illegal activity or connections with proscribed organisations or terrorist groups. In addition, it can help employers see the kind of person the candidate might be, and whether they could pose a risk to the company reputation.

But social media checks aren’t just designed to uncover negative associations, they can also be used to validate a person’s career history, or other claims made on a CV. LinkedIn can prove particularly useful in providing testimonials from people who have worked with the candidate in a professional capacity.

Up to 80% of employers now screen social media profiles as part of their pre-employment screening, but they should be aware that candidates are not as relaxed as they once were about letting it all hang out on social media. Within a competitive job market, candidates are putting their best foot forward at all stages of the application process, making the job of finding the perfect hire tougher, and more crucial, than ever.