Survey: The most popular ways candidates ‘clean up’ social media accounts

While prior research has found that 34% of employers say they have reprimanded or fired someone over online content, new data from Paychex shows that job candidates are taking steps to walk back what’s already online.

Changing their profile settings to “private” was found to be the most popular way that they “clean up”  social media accounts.

Furthermore, while 60% of job candidates admit to checking out their interviewer’s social media accounts online before heading in for an interview, 40% say they don’t. But in most cases, this hasn’t led to anything drastic during the hiring process: 79% say that seeing something “unfavorable” on their interviewer’s social media hasn’t made them reject an interview or job. However, 21% said this has.

Paychex surveyed 820 job candidates (ages 18 to 78) and 603 hiring managers (ages 19 to 78) using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. The company also reported that the information is based “on self-reporting.”

Here’s how people “clean up” their social media presence

People have done all kinds of things — but most frequently, the obvious:

  • “I made my profile private:” 57%
  • “I deleted evidence of excessive partying:” 20%
  • “I deleted or fixed posts and comments that had poor spelling or grammar:” 19%
  • “I removed evidence of my political views:” 16%
  • “I deleted posts containing vulgar language:” 14%
  • “I changed or removed an unprofessional username or screen name:” 13%
  • “I deleted information that was inconsistent with my resume:” 11%
  • “I deleted posts that negatively referenced an employer:” 11%
  • “I deleted provocative photos:” 9%
  • “I temporarily suspended my account:” 8%

In separate, but related, news, data from PR agency Edelman showed that 40% of people have deleted a social media account over the last year due to privacy concerns.

What job candidates don’t mind hiring managers seeing

Candidates weighed in for Paychex’s research, showing that LinkedIn is clearly in the lead:

  • LinkedIn: 90%
  • Google+: 64%
  • Pinterest: 61%
  • Facebook: 59%
  • Instagram: 56%
  • Twitter: 55%
  • Personal blog: 44%
  • Snapchat: 39%
  • Tumblr: 28%
  • Reddit: 0%

Interestingly enough, no one wants a hiring manager’s eyes on their Reddit account.