For the longest time, employers would do simple background checks. They have a potential employee complete a job application where they were asked for three professional references. Before the employee was hired, the three would receive a telephone call and tell the potential employer that the job applicant was a wonderful individual who would do incredible things for them, just as they had done before.
For a while, polygraphs or lie detectors became part of the standard arsenal of checking until, fortunately, legislation was passed in many states eliminating it as a tool (they were notoriously inaccurate).
In a recent poll, 77% of employers surveyed were searching the web for information about new hires and 35% had eliminated a candidate based upon something they found there.
A few years ago, a manager I was working with at a hedge fund Googled the name of a job applicant for a technical position and found a posting where they had written that they were still working in technology only because they had suffered large trading losses and wanted to join a company where they could learn what they did wrong–in other words, learn how my client traded and steal the model. Suffice it to say, the candidate was rejected.
Companies are examining listings on Facebook, Twitter and Google+to determine whether the job applicant might have done something inappropriate.
And, as they have for years, many more are doing background checks including checks of your financial responsibility (credit checks).
So, remember that picture in the belly shirt with the beer in your hand toasting the photographer you posted on Facebook five years ago? And guy, remember that picture that was taken of you streaking through the frat house when you were 19 that’s still on your webpage?
Take this stuff down before it takes you down.
© 2006, 2011, 2015 All rights reserved Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter