I've seen some companies asking applicants in job application forms to provide links to their social networks pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc). This information is always optional.

I wonder if it makes any sense to submit an account on a website other than LinkedIn.

I guess it can be quite harmful if one posts something inappropriate (e.g. sexist jokes) and/or just controversial (like political opinions).

  1. Can it benefit the candidate? What do HRs expect to see there?
  2. Are candidates expected to provide links to their accounts in social networks only if they post things related to their work?

I have accounts on Instagram and Facebook, and usually I just post selfies, pictures of cute animals, food or just some landscapes. So, nothing work related, nothing very interesting, but also nothing that can be harmful to my career. Is there any reason to/not to provide this information when asked?

  • For programming, I might give them a GitHub or LinkedIn account, bur for others, I don't see much upside and there is a potential for downside. "usually I just post selfies, pictures of cute animals, food or just some landscapes" - but not always; there might be a gotcha. Or, one of your "cute animals" might be a pig or cow and offend someone's religion. Nov 12, 2019 at 9:02
  • As always with interviewing process, it goes both ways. For example you might use some solidarity avatar/flag with case that is important to you. Company might not want to hire you because of that. Would you like to work for company that don't share or dislike such values? Nov 12, 2019 at 9:54

2 Answers 2


I honestly wouldn't unless you maintain separate accounts for professional purposes. There is a lot you can lose but little to nothing you can gain from it.

  1. Cant it benefit?

Maybe. Perhaps if your social media is littered with posts and images of you doing charity work it might look good. There isn't likely to be relevant professional information that isn't already cited and packaged better in your CV. Almost always digging through social media is just a way of mining for things that would exclude you. You never know how people are going to take what they see from your personal life. It could go as simple as the HR person hating the band whose shirt you wear in one of your photos. And the fact that you can't 100% control what people are going to see on your page I would stay far away from it. The public posts on your wall from friends and family, you can't easily control those. A happy birthday wall post on your facebook from that one cousin who uses the confederate flag as his cover photo could exclude you. You just don't know.

  1. Are candidates expected to provide links?

No. I've heard one or two stories about employers demanding it, but that is quite rare and I have only seen it here on The Workplace. Your personal life is your personal life. Its best to keep it that way.

All in all, I consider giving social media links to prospective employers to be similar to talking to police without a lawyer. It can never help you. No matter how innocent you are, it can only hurt. I wouldn't stake my career on such things.

  • I think I didn't phrase the second one well. I meant to ask if HRs want to see accounts only with posts related to work. E.g. if you should provide your Instagram only if you post photos from company events (and not your selfies and cute cat pics). Nov 11, 2019 at 19:04
  • Generally most people don't keep separate accounts for private and professional purposes. They are most likely asking you for any social media accounts you are willing to offer. My personal recommendation would be to only give them if they are dedicated professional accounts. Nov 11, 2019 at 19:13
  • could you please add it to the answer then? :) I accepted it because it fully answers the most important question (1). Thank you! Nov 12, 2019 at 18:07

I'm on the fence... Most employers would do a background check (including a social media check) and most likely find those anyway for any significant position. If you include them, make sure you aren't leaving anything off. [If you give me none, and I find them, that's one thing. If you give me three URLs, mainly boring, and leave off the fourth that I have to find myself, now I think you are hiding it - and that's worse than including none.]

  • 1
    I think it depends on the country. I live in Germany, background checks don't seem to be common here, at least not in IT. Nov 11, 2019 at 18:54
  • Interestingly, the one I did last week was for a German citizen (but working for a US company with an office in Germany). But yes, the laws favor workers much more in the EU with GDPR and it's less common for sure. (There was an actual reason for the one I did beyond just a normal hire.) I'm in the US, and we do a background check (full background check) for every employee, even temps who are just answering phones. But I'd still stick with my "if you are going to provide it, provide it all" philosophy. If you leave one off, my immediate thought would be "why?".
    – Lisa
    Nov 11, 2019 at 20:23
  • And besides your curiosity, what is the problem with why he hid it? Do you mean to say that suddenly that one social website became more important? If everything is blocked to non-friends in this website, do you conclude that this was good enough reason to not provide the link (employer won't see anything anyway, so why giving it?), or does it suddenly become a deciding factor: "We want to know what you are hiding!".
    – Mefitico
    Nov 11, 2019 at 20:44
  • We don't ask for social media links - we do a background check and research them. But if someone walked in and said "Oh, you're going to do a background check? Let me save you the trouble..." and gave me all but one social media site - I would feel like they were trying to trick me. I work in an industry where we have access to very private information for clients - we have to be careful to only hire trustworthy, honest people. And I'm not saying hiding a Facebook account is dishonest, but it raises a question when you openly provide the rest and hide one. I wouldn't provide them at all.
    – Lisa
    Nov 27, 2019 at 23:29

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