Recruiters look to social media before hiring

Prompted by an article in People Manager on the increasing use of social media profile in recruitment, and the extent to which employers ‘vet’ prospective employees on social media ( I wondered what advice I would give to a friend who realised too late that their social profile might need tidying up.

The first step has got to be:-


There is plenty of information available on this but just to pick some examples:-

Facebook – publically available information includes your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, network user name and user id. You do need to think about the extent to which you want all that information publically available. Try to avoid any ‘public settings’. In facebook under privacy settings and tools there are options to consider how public you want your posts to be. However once changed the status remains that way.

Many people are aware that they need to be careful of the content they share – it is a constant themes these days of TV plots that someone has posted information that they are on holiday leaving their home empty to be burgled. Managing your privacy settings helps in terms of who can see what you post. Guarding your personal information is highly important, for example date of birth.

The difficulties the people can land themselves in using Twitter is a daily newspaper headline.

Linked-In is a professional social platform and most users have had some training and are unlikely to share too much personal information. Again it is important to be aware of the privacy and settings option. There are control settings for what people see when they view your profile. Usually Linked-In users will want their name, photo and headline to appear to everyone but recruiters often choose to be anonymous. Sharing the connections list is another consideration.

As is often said, nothing on the internet is truly private and even if you are not seeking a new position right now, you need to be aware how your current postings may affect future job hunting.


I have lost count of the number of times that I’ve been consulted about an inappropriate posting on facebook, Instagram or the like either from an employer’s perspective or by an employee. Employees are often ‘shopped’ by someone they considered a friend. It is a good idea to review your settings and networks from time to time and decide whether they need pruning. Depending on the type of social media you use, there are ways and means of doing this without alerting/upsetting your network.

  1. POSTS

At the risk of stating the obvious – stop posting inappropriate posts! This is of course easy to say and something that seems innocuous to you at a particular time could prove embarrassing later on or in a different context. This may well be a question of ‘do as I say and not as I do’ but the best piece of advice I can give is just to ask yourself the question ‘what could possibly go wrong with this post?’


First, depending on the type of social media platform used, there may well be an opportunity to go through pruning and removing old postings. Clearly given the current trend in recruitment this would be a good idea for anyone job hunting today.

Secondly, following an European law decision relating to Google individuals now have the right to have out of date personal information removed from Google searches. This is of course a different issue from your own social media content, but it is worth thinking about. The first step is to ask any company or organisation holding data to amend or remove it. There is also a form to complete available through Google’s website. You have to be ready to provide a list of the relevant links and proof of identity. Reviewing the Information Commissioner Officer’s delisting criteria might help in approaching either companies or Google. Remedies are available through the UK Courts that the first port of call may well be the Information Commissioner’s Office if you hit a problem.

For further information please contact Holly Dobson on 0114 224 2121 or at


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