News / Utah / 

Employers urged to avoid job seekers' social media pages

Employers urged to avoid job seekers' social media pages

(Shutterstock)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY — Job seekers have been told time after time to avoid posting inappropriate pictures or statements on social media websites. But a new study shows businesses that are hiring need to be careful, too.

The study from Carnegie Mellon University says the potential employer may form some biased opinions about potential employees by checking out their Facebook, Twitter or other social media account.

The university sent out dummy resumes and social media profiles to several firms. Many of the companies were willing to call back Christian applicants, but not as many Muslim applicants. The difference was even greater in parts of the country that many consider conservative.

One Utah job expert said this is very dangerous territory.

Hilbig said even if business owners don't intend to discriminate, bias could be present and employers could set themselves up for a discrimination lawsuit.

"It's not always easy to show it was just an unintended consequence," he said. "And sometimes, we don't care if it is unintended or not. Because of the consequence, you are going to be fined or penalized."

He would encourage employers to stay away from Facebook and similar social media websites.

"Use other sources first, through the interview and through screening applications," he advised.

However, he said if people in charge of hiring feel they need to log on, LinkedIn is the best bet because it's more professional.

Hilbig said people looking for jobs should probably set up a LinkedIn account or make a professional-looking social media account so that things like family pictures don't hinder you from getting an interview or a new position.

Related links

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Utah
Cleon Wall

    SIGN UP FOR THE KSL.COM NEWSLETTER

    Catch up on the top news and features from KSL.com, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast