Friday, July 22, 2011

You are what you post

An interesting trend is developing in the employment industry...

Recruiting agencies and prospective employers are now using "social media background checks" to help determine the suitability of candidates.

In fact, there are now new companies popping up who will, for a fee, perform these online background checks, trawling through a person's interactions on social networking sites, forums and other mechanisms, all of which leave tell-tale footprints on the Net.

According to psychologists, such a check can deliver considerable insight into a person's personality, including determining whether they are suited to a team environment, have leadership potential, are honest, trustworthy, etc.

Recruitment companies are again warning those who are active online to think twice before they make posts that may later come back to haunt them and damage their career prospects.

Unfortunately, many postings to the Web do not just disappear and even deliberately removing them may not erase the evidence. Such posts often live on in Google's cache or on archive sites such as the internet archive.

Another problem that can cause issues when these background checks are performed is that of identity theft or poisoning.

There have been reported cases of people who have found their reputation deliberately impugned by old adversaries or foes who have created blogs or web-forum identities in their name and then made racist or potentially damaging comments. Since such poisoning often goes undetected until a background check is made, it can be hard for someone to prove that these postings were not made by them.

Good advice is to regularly Google your own name and check to see that your "cyber-rep" remains positive.

In the 21st century, your behaviour online may be every bit as important as the qualifications and experience on your CV when it comes to securing that next job.

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