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article imageSurvey: Job seekers are attempting to 'hide' online activities

By Tim Sandle     Aug 27, 2019 in Business
Job candidates will go to great lengths to keep their social media private from employers and coworkers. The extent to which job seekers are enabling privacy settings and augmenting their digital footprint, has been captured in a new study.
Some employers are assessing potential employees by assessing their social media profiles and other online activities, and certain past activities can be prohibitive to gaining certain jobs. Consequently some potential employees are attempting to hide certain past deeds. According to a CareerBuilder survey, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, which is up significantly from previous surveys.
The top five areas of concern expressed by employers and which can lead to a candidate not being hired are:
Job candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information: 40 percent
Job candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs: 36 percent
Job candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc.: 31 percent
Job candidate was linked to criminal behavior: 30 percent
Job candidate lied about qualifications: 27 percent
To help to mitigate this risk, prospective employees as attempting to mask certain online activities. A new study from business privacy consultants JDP assesses the lengths that some people are going to ("Study: How Job Seekers Curate Their Social Presence"). Here the surveys reveals which platforms and content people are most concerned about, and how many job seekers are concerned about "unprofessional" behavior they've previously shared online. With platforms that people are seeking to make private, Facebook comes in top (being home to the most incriminating material), followed by Twitter, Reddit, Instagram and personal websites or blogs. Conversely, some users said they were maximizing use of LinkedIn in order to present a positive image of themselves.
The survey is based on a poll of 2,007 U.S. citizens (the average age was 36). The study reveals that going forwards, 82 percent of people have begun enabling privacy settings, while almost half go even further and have created alias accounts. In terms of past behavior, 56 percent of respondents indicate they are trying to hide past unprofessional behavior. A similar number state they feel they need to hide their followers or likes (in terms being associated with others who might attract adverse attention).
Some of these concerns extend to when a person has gained employment, in case something comes to light. Here 43 percent of users state they have privacy settings in place to avoid connecting with coworkers.
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