Ever since Facebook, blogs, Twitter and the like became a part of our daily lives, there has been a perception that the “big brothers” of HR at companies everywhere are screening job applicants’ social profiles.
“They’ll see those pictures you took at a party back in college!”
“They’ll find the irreverent joke you wrote on your friend’s wall!”
“They’ll uncover that you tweeted over a two-hour span during your one-hour lunch break!”
While some of these are indeed valid concerns, recent research suggests that social media screening was never as big of a practice as we thought it was.
This article does a great job of breaking down the reasons why, and says that some states are even trying to outlaw certain aspects of job applicant social media screening. It also suggests that screening practices are trending down, and identifies concerns over lawsuits as one of the reasons why.
Now, none of this gives anyone license to go out and be irresponsible with their social media usage. There’s still a good chance someone within your network – if not a potential future employer – is still seeing what you post. To keep from embarrassing yourself and hurting future opportunities, I always recommend you just assume your employer (or future employer) WILL see what you post. That should keep you safe. But at the same time, don’t sit around thinking that every single thing you share will make or break your career!
Have you ever found out that an employer screened your social media usage? What’s the story?