Employers Adding Social Media to Background Checks

Social Intelligence, a company specializing in social media background checks for employers, is the subject of a profile in the New York Times.  It’s a brilliant and timely idea to focus on researching people applying for jobs–it takes the onus off employers, and as we’ve seen time and again, puts employees (current and potential) in the position of potentially having their entire social history follow them throughout their career.

The article is worth the read, and younger users should especially take heart. I recently became Facebook friends with the teenaged daughters of an acquaintance, and it’s not an overstatement to say I’ve been shocked not so much by the tone of their posts, but the frequency. Until friending them my youngest Facebook connection was my 20-year-old churchgoing cousin, whos posts typically contain sweet pictures, I-love-you-Mommy messages, and shout outs to best friends. These two new additions to my feed regularly join groups that might sound harmless on the surface, but it really only takes one person to misinterpret why someone “Likes” We Can’t Date Because of Your Race/Religion. For all we know this group could be doing the noble work of trying to dispel stereotypes about intercultural relationships, but how does that read in a report next to ALLLLL those other social interactions? Do these reports include any context beyond a title? Does it matter if they do?

This company is just taking the Google search that people are already doing when they get a resume, packaging it and selling it to a company, making it even easier to find more information that ever before. And I can only imagine that after this piece their phones are ringing off the hook with businesses ready to sign up.

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