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Study: Job Interviewees React Negatively to Social Media Snooping

by Fox Van Allen on January 15, 2014

Job InterviewHere at Techlicious, we’ve covered plenty of stories about how your social media history can get you in trouble with prospective employers and college admissions officers. According to a recent article in Scientific American, that door swings both ways – employers are seeing blowback from job applicants for screening their social media accounts.

In a study conducted by North Carolina State University, researchers examined how college-aged job seekers reacted when they learned a prospective employer reviewed their social networking history. In the first study, researchers found that “social networking website screening caused applicants to feel their privacy had been invaded, which ultimately resulted in lower organizational attraction.” In a second study, “screening again caused applicants to feel their privacy had been invaded, resulting in lower organizational attraction and increased intentions to litigate.”

Indeed, we’ve arrived at a point in our culture where the answer to virtually any question – even highly personal questions about a stranger – is a Google or Facebook search away. But searching a person’s social media history is increasingly being seen as invasive, even if that information is publicly available. I’d be quite turned off if someone showed up to a first date having done extensive research about what I posted online 3 years ago. Job seekers clearly feel the same way, even in an economy where good jobs remain difficult to find.

That said, it’s likely that interviewers will continue to use social media to narrow decisions given the wealth of information that can be mined from it. You’ll want to keep close tabs on your Facebook privacy settings to make sure you put your best foot forward in a job hunt. You may also want to consider using a service like Persona, which monitors your social media profiles for risqué content and potentially embarrassing likes.

[Business woman interviewing male candidate via Shutterstock]


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