Online Ghosts or Privacy Hosts

Ever come across a candidate who seems to have almost no online presence? No LinkedIn profile, no Facebook or Instagram account, not even a trace on Google? It’s like they’re a digital ghost, right there in front of you with a resume in hand, but little else to go on.

Let’s say you meet someone like this – let’s call her Karen (not her real name, of course, I’m in HR – her name is Jill). She shows up for the interview with a solid resume, work history, and references, but beyond that, she’s pretty much a mystery online.

In today’s world, where social media is everywhere, this kind of absence can be scary. Usually they’re an Instagram story away and I know what you had for breakfast, how you like your steak, your husband’s name, cat’s name, the whole damn thing.

It raises questions. Why the secrecy? Is it a deliberate choice for privacy reasons, or could there be something more to it?

During the interview, ask about it. Karen might mumble something about valuing her privacy – a word that still holds a lot of weight to some. As an employer, it’s tricky. Privacy matters, but so does transparency. Trying to balance these can be tough.

In the end, you might not get clear answers. But it’s a reminder that in today’s world, having no online presence can be a red flag when hiring. Or not. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Online Ghosts or Privacy Hosts

  1. Hi Tim
    I don’t usually reply to these, and always value your insight and perspective. In this case I’m a tad surprised at the assertion that lack of an online presence is an indication of lack of trust or transparency. You could be dipping a toe into agism here, or even I could by mentioning that some of us “seasoned” folks may not value the online activities much. However, I would assert that consideration for a person’s privacy online might also be an indication that this is a person who knows how to better balance their time and mental health than by posting or worrying about what someone else posted for breakfast, etc.

  2. I have a kid who deeply values her privacy and would be a ghost (with nothing to hide). But I am not hiring my kid, I am hiring (and then trusting) near strangers with really important parts of my life. Sadly, I would see it as a flag. Not saying it should be that way and I also understand that I am part of the problem!

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