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Social media privacy ignored by one third of job hunters

17th September 2012

One third of job hunters don’t think employers will look at their social media profiles, despite the growing use of social media in recruitment, according to a new survey by Hays, the leading recruiting expert.

In a survey of over 770 people, 36% did not think an employer would look at their profiles, and so made no changes to their social media habits when looking for a new job. Over half (55%) of respondents said they change their privacy settings when job searching, eager to make sure that personal information does not influence their chances of success in finding a new job. Going one step further, one in ten of those surveyed admitted editing content and untagging photos of themselves posted online when looking for a job.

Mark Sheldon, Regional Managing Director at Hays says: “While the majority of people are taking sensible steps to protect their privacy online when looking for a job, it’s worrying to see that so many people don’t recognise the potential pitfalls associated with social media use. Used well social media can be a valuable tool for job hunters, but employers are looking for someone who stands out for the right reasons.

With more employers now using social media and online channels for recruitment, the importance of managing your online footprint is not going to diminish. While no employer should make a hiring decision based entirely on what they see online, it’s now extremely easy for an employer to find out an incredible amount of personal detail about you with just a quick search. Making sure your private profiles stay that way will avoid distracting an employer from anything other than the task at hand of assessing your suitability for the job.”

Five tips for social media success:

  • Start now: building up a network of contacts and a strong online profile takes time, so add new contacts and achievements all the time, not just when job hunting
  • Join the debate: getting involved with industry groups and discussions on LinkedIn can illustrate your interest in your industry and help you make useful connections
  • Keep up-to-date with privacy settings: don’t get caught out by changes that could make your information more public thank you expect
  • Think about what you share, and where: a funny video might appeal to your friends on Facebook, but may not sit well with professional contacts
  • Be honest: don’t fabricate or exaggerate job titles or length of service online, you can easily be caught out by a quick search


About the survey

Survey results from an online poll of 778 visitors to, collected in September 2012.

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Asia Pacific and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe and Latin America. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 30 June 2012 the Group employed 7,800 staff operating from 245 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2012:

– the Group reported net fees of £734 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £128 million;
– the Group placed around 55,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 182,000 people into temporary assignments;
– 33% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific, 36% in Continental Europe & RoW (CERoW) and 31% in the United Kingdom & Ireland;
– the temporary placement business represented 56% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 44% of net fees;
– Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA

For further press information please contact:
Claire Fowler
T. 020 7259 8821