The work place and technology keep changing. It used to be easy to get a job. You fill out an application, do an interview and you either get hired or not. Simple. Now most corporations have you apply online that takes close to an hour to fill out. They require 2 phone interviews before an in person interview. Then background checks and drug tests. A lot of prospective employers even google your name to see what they can find out about your activity on the internet. Personally I’ve wondered if this has been a reason I didn’t get a response on many job application in the past 5 years or so.
The past few years some companies hire “social checking” services to go beyond the general google or any other search engine findings. A recent study by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) shows that 50% of employers are taking advantage of the new services up from 34% in 2008 and 20% are planning on using the services. These “social checking” companies specialize in watching and reporting applicant’s activities on social networks like facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. looking at everything from blogs to photo albums.
It’s entirely legal and complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Some question whether it is invasive of individual’s privacy come up but it seems pretty cut and dry. Most of us know by now that what we make public on the internet is open for anyone to see if we don’t make it private. Even if a person makes it entirely private there are ways around it.
The question of reliability of the information gathered because people present what they want to say about themselves and try to give the best not necessarily the most honest version of themselves on the social networking sites.
Personally I’ve been aware that what I post and say and do onine can be seen by everyone. Some of my sites, blogs, pictures, statements etc are definitely a bit risqué and even pornographic at times. I’ve accepted this fact as an artist and writer. I am willing to put myself out there to be true to myself. My art and writing has never been mainstream and I have nothing to hide. It’s more important than hiding everything to please others including prospective employers.
I know a lot of people that won’t have anything to do with me online due to the nature of their careers. They keep everything private and hide out only connecting with their closest of friends and family members.
If I’m ever hiring I might use a service but I’ll be looking for honest people not the ones that seem “normal”. I feel bad for the people that don’t think about it and have pictures of their parties and drinking and wild side that a social checking service finds and may ruin their chance of a career that they wanted.
Then again is the real you the person that sits in front of an employer for an interview or the “you” you project online? Either way there’s some kind of deception and some honesty.
For me, I am just going to keep doing what I do. Post what’s on my mind. Or maybe start my own service. Hmmmm.