You’ve been warned about this before, but there’s new evidence that your social media presence is an important part of the perception employers get of you when you apply for a job.
And it’s getting easier for them. A startup called Social Intelligence scrapes the Internet for everything you may have said or done online in the past seven years. It then assembles a dossier with examples of professional honors and charitable work, along with negative information that meets specific criteria: 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.
Drucker says its reports remove references to a person’s religion, race, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and other information protected under federal employment laws. And candidates must first consent to the background check, and are notified of any adverse information found.
One hint: it’s not comments or affiliations that lead to the most problems, but rather photos and videos, a problem made potentially worse when you allow friends to tag you in their profiles, which puts identifiable images of you online that you may not even know about… until it’s too late.
Source: The New York Times