Most employers regularly check job candidates’ social media profiles

FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

More than 60% of hiring managers at U.S. companies now routinely scour the internet to look at job candidates’ social media profiles before extending a job offer, according to a survey conducted by D.C.-based business news site The Manifest.

Facebook is the No. 1 destination, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter.

Doing so can uncover reasons a company would decide not to offer a candidate a job. Reasons range from signs that skills don’t match those included in a resume to more serious red flags such as hate speech or criminal activity.

But companies should also ensure they are not violating discrimination laws when evaluating candidates on their personal social media profiles, The Manifest said.

It’s not illegal for employers to check candidates’ social media. “But, they cannot use the information they have learned from a social media profile to make decisions based on a protected class. Something like religion, gender, race and things like that,” Riley Panko at The Manifest told WTOP.

“Employers need to be very careful to make sure they are not making decisions, even in an unconscious way, when looking through the content on a job candidate’s social media profile,” Panko said.

Even if job candidates believe their social media presence makes them look perfectly normal, access to profiles, posts and friend lists can be controlled.

“If there is a post that you’re even just a little unsure about, look through your privacy settings and make sure that is only something you can see or your friends can see or something like that,” Panko said.

Social media profiles and professional blogs or websites can help confirm to a potential employer that a candidate is authentic in their presented skills and enthusiasm.

“Just be smart, and be authentic. What you put on your resume should be what you present online as well,” Panko said.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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