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Job hunters ignore social media privacy?

social media privacy

Is it fair to be judged for not having a social media account and if you do have one, is it fair to be judged by it?

November 11, 2012 9:28 by

While most online users are aware of the potent role that social media plays in their daily lives; there is still a ‘shocking’ number of them that don’t think employers would look at their profiles when job hunting.

According to a study by Hays, a worldwide recruitment expert, despite the emerging trend of employers searching for talent through social media; there is still a group of 36 percent that don’t worry about their profiles being looked through. Naturally, these people did not make any changes to their platforms when searching for a new job because, well, why would they?

Over half the study’s participants (55%) do believe that employers could potentially look through their social media profiles and so, did not necessarily make any changes, but rather put in place a set of rigid privacy settings to ward off all ‘intruders’. In either case, Hays advises online users to be wary of what they share and whom they share it with, be honest and keep up to date with privacy options.

The majority of people are taking sensible steps to protect their online privacy when looking for a job, but it’s worrying to see that so many people don’t recognise the potential pitfalls associated with social media use. Social media can be a valuable tool for job hunters, but employers are looking for someone who stands out for the right reasons,” says Mark Sheldon, Regional Managing director at Hays.

This area remains, unfortunately, grey and inconclusive. One can speculate that the growing trend of relying on social media stems from the efficiency of it while an equally reasonable assumption could be that employers are starting to become more interested with personal character and less with qualifications, particularly with some jobs.

“As a recruitment practice, I frequently check a candidate’s online presence and it’s a huge minus if it’s not respectable. However, if I don’t find a person online – depending on the position – I don’t hold any prejudice against them,” says Dubai based HR manager, Shirin Patwa.

At any rate, Kipp recently published a blog examining the potential detriment of not having a social media presence; and discussed the possible idea of employers finding a candidate suspicious for not having a Facebook account. Needless to say, it stirred up some heavy emotions and opinions and below is an excerpt from the response one of Kipp’s passionate readers.

I cannot BELIEVE how much my choice to deactivate Facebook has caused such a ruckus. People are shocked and a few times out-right rude about the fact that I don’t have an account. Even though I am more than happy to provide alternate means of contact, supply photos of myself, whatever; the fact that I’m not in the Book apparently “raises red flags”. A normal and genuine nice guy is subjected to discriminatory judgement because he doesn’t utilize a website that he personally sees as being flawed and inessential. Facebook is just a real-life “Matrix” to pacify the masses; if only more people could realize how sick and scary it really is! Until then, I’m just the crazy one that can’t integrate into “normal society” I guess.”

There were others that expressed very similar sentiments which led Kipp to believe that there is a strong resistance to this recruitment trend among the masses. However rather than focusing on those that choose not to indulge in social media, Hays says the importance of managing your online footprint is now more important than ever.

“While no employer should make a hiring decision based entirely on what they see online, it’s now extremely easy for an employer to find out an incredible level of personal detail about you with just a quick search,” says Hays.

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