FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, June 12, 2006

Employers Googling Job Candidates... And Often, They Don't Like What They See

With the post-graduation hiring season in full swing, young job seekers might want to take care what they post about themselves on their MySpace profiles or blogs.  Increasingly, Web-savvy employers are searching for information on prospective candidates.  And often, what they find gives them pause.  Consider this example:

When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.

At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.

It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done. "A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have?" said the company's president, Brad Karsh. "Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?"

Oops. College students entering the "real world" have always known that the lifestyles and laid-back norms they've enjoyed before are less than welcome in the workplace.  But with more people of all ages posting personal information online, the variances between college life and corporate life are becoming more pronounced.  Perhaps schools need to stress more strenuously the reality that one's seemingly innocent actions can have repercussions years later.  But then again, if an employer objects to something that's a fundamental part of your personality, is that someplace you really want to work anyway?

Secondly, this is one more nail in the coffin of our traditional notion of privacy.  If someone can learn volumes about your personal life by surfing the Web, is that an invasion of privacy?  Not if what they find is material that you yourself posted for others to read...

Source:  International Herald Tribune