Social media reports and hiring

Most so-called Facebookers know that social media is both a powerful and dangerous tool. Some of us know that what you post on Twitter can ultimately come back to haunt you, while others do as they please and will think of the consequences later.

A recent Good article discusses a company called Social Intelligence that goes deep into your online life and builds a profile for potential employers.

Using deep search tools that make Google look like AltaVista, Social Intelligence will provide potential employers with an ultra-modern background check, one that scours the internet for a person’s blog posts, pictures, and uploads to social media sites. If the employer doesn’t like Social Intelligence’s file on you, you don’t get the job. Not only that, but Social Intelligence then keeps your collected information in an archive for seven years.

This is alarming on several levels. Beyond what one posts on Twitter, their website and Linkedin individuals should reasonably be able to protect themselves from doing anything too embarrassing that would put off a potential employer.

What employers would want with my Facebook page is beyond me. Facebook in no way reveals skills they may be looking for — aside from the obviously ignored ability to socialize and get along with others. Say a company is looking for a geologist. What would Facebook tell them about potential candidates, probably very little. Truly valuable information can be acquired through interviews, resumes, cover letters, references and things of that sort. If said aspiring geologist has a blog dedicated to how much they love Glee or Community or the Bachelorette this reflects in no way on their geological knowledge.They should be able to judge character based on standard hiring practices.

What difference does it make to them if somebody has pictures of them at Denny’s that were obviously taken at 4 a.m.? Who cares? It might just be a good thing to hire people who aren’t perfect — which let’s face it nobody is — and can have a little fun.

The fact that the information this website gives to companies is of little use makes it even worse that they feel the need to violate the privacy of potential employees and snoop around in their private lives.

Most people are good about protecting their privacy and not putting anything they regret online, although not everybody is very wise about this. Employees have control over what they post but the fact that employers would seek out every dirt little secret is invasive and probably useless. There’s two sides to the trust coin: we’ll be reasonable and you’ll respect us.

Even if I have nothing to hide I still want to.

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