HR · 9 November 2017

One in four job candidates stalk their interviewer on social media beforehand

LinkedIn was the preferred platform for social media stalkers
LinkedIn was the preferred platform for social media stalkers

It’s usually job hunters who are advised to take care over their social media output and expect potential employers to access their profiles. However, a new study has suggested this is a two way street.

The research, by online marketing firm Digimax, polled UK employees to find that almost one in four have turned the tables and assessing an employer ahead of a job interview.

According to the research, job seekers wanted to find areas of common ground with their employer, while some used social media to find out their interviewer’s professional background. Almost half said it helped with general preparations.

In terms of where the snooping is occurring, LinkedIn was the most popular place for candidates to seek out their interviewer.

Revealed: Ten candidate questions that can make or break a job interview

The findings suggested women were more likely to thin ahead, with 61 per cent of those admitting to using social media to assess an interviewer beforehand.

Given that just one in five employers couldn’t remember the last time they checked or adjusted the privacy settings on their social media profiles, they seem to be making the job even easier for savvy job candidates.

On the other hand, job seekers were particularly aware of who could access their own social media profiles. Almost half said they regularly checked privacy settings, while 15 per cent even deactivate their Facebook account when applying for jobs.

Researchers asked employers what kind of information on their candidate they were seeking online

  1. Assess correct use of grammar – 82 per cent
  2. Check on spelling ability – 59 per cent
  3. Look for inappropriate content (such as drug references) – 32 per cent

Commenting on the research, Shaz Memon, creative director of Digimax, said social media had now become a tool equally useful for job hunters and employers.

“It’s interesting to see all the different ways in which social media is now being used in and around employment practices,” Memon said. “Not so long ago, Facebook and Twitter were only really considered tools for employers looking to get the low-down on their candidates, but now the tables are turning.

“It’s really encouraging to see that people are learning lessons and protecting themselves against potential discrimination by ensuring that their privacy settings are up to scratch. Now, it seems, that employers need to do the same.”

Find out the most important deal breakers for job-seeking professionals

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.