Social media is utilized daily by billions of users. Those users could possibly include your boss and colleagues at your current job or interviewers and hiring managers during the job search. Social media screening is becoming more common in the hiring process, so it's a good idea for job seekers to review their social media profiles and adjust their privacy settings as necessary to ensure that their online activities don't present a negative impression to potential employers.
67% of employers use social media sites to research potential job candidates. (Zippia, 2023)
In many countries, including the United States, employers are generally legally allowed to ask job candidates about their social media accounts and activities. However, there may be certain restrictions on how this information is obtained and used. For example, in the United States, employers are prohibited from discriminating against job applicants based on certain protected characteristics, such as race, religion, age, gender, and national origin. If an employer asks about an applicant's social media activities and then uses that information to make a decision about hiring or other employment decisions in a way that violates anti-discrimination laws, they could be held liable.
In some jurisdictions, such as California, employers are prohibited from requiring job applicants to provide access to their social media accounts or passwords, or to require them to disclose any non-public personal social media information.
[A] study found that 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn with 35.5 million having been hired by a person they connected with on the site. So it's unsurprising that 101 Job applications are submitted through LinkedIn every second, and 8 people are hired every minute. (Kinsta, 2023)
Social media in the job search isn't something to be feared. It's something that can actually be utilized to build your reputation and brand with possible employers. LinkedIn is a great place to start with utilizing social media as a space to network, share what you're up to professionally, and demonstrate your skills.
You should always know the social media policy of an employer. Policies, contracts, non-disclosure agreements, and public image are all considerations that go into an employers' decisions around social media. Each can have an effect on your personal use of social media. Take your time, do your research, and remember that what is posted online is never truly private. So take a moment and before sharing information online and think to yourself, "Is this something I want out in the world?"