What is Social Screening? | Sarina Russo

What is Social Screening?

By Sarina Russo Editorial Team

Your social media activity represents your personal brand and should be treated seriously. Managing your brand starts from the ground up and while you may think your friends and followers are the only people viewing your digital footprint, it’s important to remember that what you post online stays there forever and is accessible by everyone.

According to a CareerArc survey, 91% of employers specified they searched through potential employee’s social media accounts during the hiring process and 79% of employers even rejected candidates based on what they found.¹ Social screening is now a crucial part of the recruitment process and could be the reason you do or don’t get the job. Some questions you should be asking yourself before applying for jobs include: Is your digital footprint an accurate portrayal of you? Would you feel comfortable showing what you post to a future employer? If you answered no, it’s time to revise what you’ve posted and clean up your social media.

Social Screening Facts - Sarina Russo

How can I clean up my online presence?

1. Google yourself

This tip may sound silly, but by Googling your name you will be able to see if your name appears on any blogs, social media websites or news articles which you may not have known about prior.

When Googling your name, make sure to look at the first 5 pages of search results and a decent scrolls length on Google images too. These are the pages your future employer will be looking at.

📖 Related Story: How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Job Searching

2. Look through photos you have posted online

Everything is public once it’s online. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing certain photos you have posted online to your employer, then they need to be removed, hidden or archived.

During the social screening process, employers will be looking at your social media accounts and viewing every photo you have posted.

If there’s a photo that may be viewed as inappropriate, it’s best to take it down or hide it from future employers before they see it. Here are some ways you can do this:

How to hide Facebook photos:

View the photo you would like to hide and click ‘only me’ to hide the photo from all of Facebook. You can update the privacy settings of photos at any time on Facebook if you wish to alter its visibility.

How to archive Instagram posts:

View the post you would like to hide and click the three dots in the upper-right corner of your photo and then select ‘archive’. This will hide it from your profile and ensure users can no longer see this post while it is marked archived.

3. Update your privacy settings

Default privacy settings on social media platforms are usually at their lowest level. This means anyone can see your profile and view your posts.

If you’re like us, then you have probably been on social media for 5+ years and keeping track of everything you have posted can be tricky. We recommend updating all privacy settings on social media when applying for new roles.

For Facebook, you can choose the audience you would like your content to be visible to, and this includes ‘friends’, ‘public’ and ‘only me’. ‘Friends’ is a great option, as this allows your content to remain visible to your friends but hides your content to the public.

For Instagram, you can either make your profile ‘public’ or ‘private’. For private accounts, your profile is still searchable, but your content will only be visible to your followers.

Tip: As your social media is personal, it should be kept that way. If you want to add or connect to your work colleagues, make a professional account.

4. Clean up your Snapchat

Whether you’re active on Snapchat or not, we recommend logging in and cleaning up your account. As Snapchat is linked to your mobile phone number an employer can access your account name by going to ‘add friends - contacts.’ Make sure your Snap name is suitable and if it isn’t, change it.

After this, we recommend changing your privacy settings and make sure your stories are only visible to your friends. You don’t want an employer to follow you and see what you get up to in your spare time.

5. Change your email address

It’s important to make a good first impression and an email address is one of the first things an employer notices on your résumé. When making an email address, make sure it’s professional and contains your name. An example of this is ‘johnsmith@outlook.com’. By including your name, you make it easier for employers to email you.

6. Review your TikTok

TikTok has taken the world by storm and is more than just dance videos and sing-alongs. It’s now one of the biggest video-sharing social networking platforms with about 1 billion monthly active users. ²

Like all social media platforms, it's important to ask yourself, “Is this content employer-friendly?” If you answered no, then it's probably best you remove or hide the video in question. The last thing you would want is a video holding you back from scoring your dream job.

You can hide a video in TikTok by changing the privacy settings of the video from ‘everyone’ to ‘private’. After this, the video will only be discoverable to yourself.


[1] Recruiting in the New Age: Social Media and Recruitment Statistics, retrieved on 30 July, 2021, from: https://www.careerarc.com/blog/social-media-and-recruitment-statistics-for-today/

[2] TikTok Statistics – Updated June 2021, retrieved on 26 July, 2021, from: https://wallaroomedia.com/blog/social-media/tiktok-statistics/

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