Predicting Self-Disclosure in Recruitment in the Context of Social Media Screening

  • Debora JeskeEmail author
  • Sonia Lippke
  • Kenneth S. Shultz


Understanding the factors that support the self-disclosure of information by prospective job applicants in recruitment settings provide an important means to understand withdrawal from and completion of applications for job vacancies, particularly in the age of increasing social media screening (also known as cyber-vetting). The general willingness to trust others, the anticipated (mis)use of information (e.g., that may disadvantage applicants), and global privacy concerns may all influence applicant completion and withdrawal behaviors. The purpose of the current study was therefore to examine whether the relationship between perceived vulnerability regarding the use of information and general self-disclosure was mediated by one’s willingness to trust, as well as the link to the completion of applications. The authors collected data from an online sample of 222 student participants who were asked to respond to several hypothetical job scenarios suggesting social media screening. The results indicated that willingness to trust was an independent predictor of self-disclosure. However, while no support for mediation was found, a moderation effect transpired. Specifically, self-disclosure was lowest when both vulnerability and global privacy concerns were high. Follow-up analysis showed that self-disclosure predicted intention to continue with the application process. This suggests that prospective applicants’ willingness to trust, privacy concerns, and perceived vulnerability associated with the use of information about applicants may be important predictors of self-disclosure involved in information sharing (and thus applications submission/completion rates) during recruitment.


Applicant behavior Self-disclosure Vulnerability Trust Recruitment 



The authors would like to thank the students and colleagues in the Department of Psychology at Northumbria University for their support.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

None of the three authors received any research grants for this study. All three authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Department of Psychology at Northumbria University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied PsychologyUniversity College CorkCorkRepublic of Ireland
  2. 2.Jacobs University BremenBremenGermany
  3. 3.California State UniversitySan BernardinoUSA

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