Who your potential hires or current employees are on social media may be much different from who they are at work, a new study has found.

In fact, according to the JDP Social Scrubbing Survey 2019 involving 2,007 Americans, surveyed in July this year, 82% have set up some degree of privacy on their social media channels, with 43% putting in place privacy settings to avoid their employers or co-workers.

Apart from this, half of the respondents (50%) believed employers should not be allowed to search for job candidates on social media.

In line with this, four in 10 have even made an alias account to maintain their privacy, while one in three revealed they do refuse to connect with their colleagues on social media, even after taking on the job.

The top three accounts staff and candidates want to keep hidden: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit

Of all the key social media presented, Facebook came in top as the platform that users wanted to keep hidden (45%). Following that is Twitter (35%), and close behind in third place, is Reddit (33%).

As for the other common platforms, 28% wanted to keep their Instagram profiles hidden; 27% their personal websites or blogs; 16% their YouTube channels and right at the bottom, 9% wanted to keep their LinkedIn profiles hidden.

But what exactly are job candidates and employees trying to keep private on these platforms?

Based on the survey, nearly six in 10 (56%) wanted to hide some form of unprofessional behaviour, while 70% wanted to maintain privacy in their personal lives.

At the same time, about four in 10 (44%) desired to keep their political views private.Priya-August-2019-Survey-social-media-screengrab-2


It's not always about hiding from prospective/current employers

That said, while employees and job candidates do take steps to maintain a degree of privacy on social media, and shy away from connecting with co-workers on these platforms, the survey also revealed it's not always to hide their activity.

Instead, some take steps to 'adjust' their social media as well - be it by removing their old profiles or posts to protect their professional reputations (50%), or by liking, posting about or following industry-relevant content online to impress employers.


Lead photo and infographic / JDP Social Scrubbing Survey 2019