Don’t Photo Copy Your Butt
For a while there it looked as if social media might create an entirely new job market for people. Now it appears it might create an entirely new class of “unemployable ” people. This is thanks to new social media background checks which threaten to expose all those old Flickr photos you posted of you getting drunk at the Christmas party and mooning the boss.
If you did post indecent or compromising photos of yourself online at any point in your life then suffice to say they will likely come back to haunt you.
Of course, the same could be said for any of you that held up a bank or robbed someone at gun point. Bad behavior is its own reward (punishment) and the chances are it will catch up with you right when you would like to forget all about it.
Social media is really no different than any other fact of life. If you do something stupid, and brag about it, the wrong person will likely hear about it and it will cost you. Dearly.
So, do yourself a favor and stop broadcasting your stupidity online right now. Go back and try to correct the mistakes of your online past and clean-up your social media image. It might just win you your next job, or even, save your current one.
A year-old start-up, Social Intelligence, scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.
Then it 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.
“We are not detectives,” said Max Drucker, chief executive of the company, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif. “All we assemble is what is publicly available on the Internet today.”
The Federal Trade Commission, after initially raising concerns last fall about Social Intelligence’s business, determined the company is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, but the service still alarms privacy advocates who say that it invites employers to look at information that may not be relevant to job performance.
And what relevant unflattering information has led to job offers being withdrawn or not made? Mr. Drucker said that one prospective employee was found using Craigslist to look for OxyContin. A woman posing naked in photos she put up on an image-sharing site didn’t get the job offer she was seeking at a hospital.
Other background reports have turned up examples of people making anti-Semitic comments and racist remarks, he said. Then there was the job applicant who belonged to a Facebook group, “This Is America. I Shouldn’t Have to Press 1 for English.” This raises a question. “Does that mean you don’t like people who don’t speak English?” asked Mr. Drucker rhetorically.
Mr. Drucker said his goal was to conduct pre-employment screenings that would help companies meet their obligation to conduct fair and consistent hiring practices while protecting the privacy of job candidates.
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