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Friday, July 22, 2011

Employers Hunt Down Your Bachelor Party Pics on Facebook

More companies are conducting internet background checks to scrape up everything you've ever said and done. Should they? And should you care?

Keep reading: Employers Hunt Down Your Bachelor Party Pics on Facebook


Anonymous said...

Employers are conducting internet background checks in part because they can afford to be knit picky in this economy.

Think about it this way: Would employers have been more likely to let some online photos and questionable status updates slide if social media had existed during the dot-com era? Most likely yes, because employers needed to fill positions quickly. Sure, we don't like some things you said on Twitter, but you're the best applicant in the pile and we need someone who can start next week, so...

A story yet to be covered is how social media has become a Catch-22 for job applicants. On the one hand, employers want to see that job applicants have a social media "footprint" and are hip to these sites enough to use them. On the other hand, employers are using what they find on social media sites to turn applicants away.

Where is it all going? I think employees and employers alike are still trying to figure out how to use social media in an optimal way. We're living in the social media Wild West.

Employers will probably have to lower their online background check expectations when hiring picks up (oh, magical day...) because no job applicant will be a perfect hire after social media use has been factored in. It will be fascinating to see where this all goes.

Anonymous said...

This is part of why my Facebook profile is "friends only," and I don't friend coworkers or other business associates. And why I'm careful what I post and who I friend.

But I think employers should talk with their HR and legal departments before doing something like this, about dealing with some of what they may find.

For example, one thing you can find about me by looking is that my religious beliefs are not the dominant religion. And sadly, my religion is one about which there are a lot of inaccurate negative perceptions.

Now say that I apply for a job with the company and all goes well until the background check. And I find out about said background check. Can the company demonstrate that factors other than my religious beliefs were the determining factor in my not getting an offer? And even if I didn't sue, or even if I did and lost, that's maybe still some serious bad publicity for the company. And some tense moments for HR and the lawyers that could have been avoided entirely if they'd just kept their noses out of what doesn't concern them.

It's not just employees who should be concerned about this sort of thing - employers should carefully think about what they might be opening themselves up to, and why.

Mike C. said...

When folks complain about "people seeking fame" on Facebook, they ignore a few simple facts:

1. Facebook changes their privacy settings more often than the moon changes phases. I remember when it was invite only, and things were great. Now, not so much.

2. Even if a given person never ever posts a photo of themselves, it doesn't stop every other person with a camera from going crazy. I don't think I need to point out how many people have cameras on their cell phones now.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem of this is that things can easily be taken out of context. It results in a half-truth (another word for a lie).

While employers may filter against truly egregious stuff, they are fools for taking it further.