Do prospective employers have the right to read your thoughts published on social media sites (and other online venues) and then judge you as fit or unfit for employment?
This somehow smacks of intrusion of privacy, to me … Or, akin to reading someone’s private mail and then using it against them.
Would you even want to work for a company that used such practices?
I have to admit that when you publish something on these public, interactive sites that it’s out there for all to see … But, is this kind of exchange something that should be used to judge your abilities to perform a certain position that might not have anything to do with what you are saying?
Sounds like political headhunting to me … and there’s a high probability you would be better off without such a company.
More risks to job applicants with questionable social media history
Have you seen the recent New York Times article, Social Media History Becomes a New Job Hurdle? If you haven’t, it’s definitely worth reading. I also thought it was quite timely as it hit on many of the same themes and topics we’ve been discussing lately. As the title of the article suggests, it talks about how a person’s social media history can be an impediment to getting a job and how companies are increasingly requiring job applicants to pass a “social media background check.” Here are a few highlights from the article that I found particularly interesting.
- One of the companies featured in the article, Social Intelligence, is a “year-old start-up” that conducts social media background checks for employers. According to the NY Times, the company “assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.” Now, for regular readers of netWORKed, Social Intelligence’s activities should ring some bells—see my post A Helpful Reminder on Social Media and Background Checks, reminding readers that companies that do background checks for other companies, even when the background check is a social media background check, are subject to the requirements of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. (Perhaps the NY Times had read my post too! The article specifically notes that the Federal Trade Commission had raised some concerns about Social Intelligence but determined that the Company is indeed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.)
- Less than a third of the data included in Social Intelligence’s reports comes from the big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Social Intelligence’s chief executive, Max Drucker, told the NY Times that “much of the negative information about job candidates comes from deep Web searches that find comments on blogs and posts on smaller social sites, like Tumblr, the blogging site, as well as Yahoo user groups, e-commerce sites, bulletin boards and even Craigslist.”
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