Dark Charade: A Qualitative Study of Cybervetting and Identity Management




Pustelnik, Grant

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Cybervetting is one of the processes through which organizations seek to collect information about potential employees. As we move toward a more digital future with an increased prevalence on social media sites and their sphere of influence, cybervetting has also increased in prevalence. Past research indicates that cybervetting primarily consists of surveillance of applicants' social media accounts. As cybervetting's prevalence has increased, so has public knowledge of its existence, and past research also indicates that this has influenced how individuals present themselves on their public social media profiles. Therefore, organizational and online identity management in the era of cybervetting has become a priority for many potential job applicants. This qualitative research study explores how people manage their online identities in light of the practice of cybervetting by employers and organizational policies about social media. The study's findings demonstrate that many individuals are aware of cybervetting to some degree and that the approaches people take to identity management range based on the nature of their position and career path. Three key ways through which individuals engage in identity management are through obscurity (e.g., concealing content), through organizational policy (e.g., following organizational guidelines), and through promotion (e.g., promoting a personal brand).


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Cybervetting, Identity management