Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Can Your Social Media Past Hurt Your Job Prospects?

Although criminal background checks, credit reports and online searches are standard fare these days for employers evaluating potential employees, social media history is growing increasingly important as part of the equation.

Social Intelligence, a social media history aggregation company, is banking on it. It provides a unique service for employers and gives them everything they need to evaluate someone in terms of their online activity.

While this may seem like detective work, CEO Max Drucker is quick to dismiss the connection. “All we assemble is what is publicly available on the Internet today,” he stated in a recent interview. The gathered information is categorized into several different sections, including professional honors, charitable work, racist comments, references to drugs, racy photos, displays of weapons and violent actions.

The service may seem like a safe bet for employers, but the FTC was notified by privacy advocates who are concerned with employers making determinations based on factors that aren’t relevant to job performance. In the subsequent investigation, the FTC determined that Social Intelligence’s business is in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

According to the company, the reports remove references to religion, race, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and other protected information. What is exposed can be damaging – like a woman who was found to be hunting for Oxycontin on Craigslist. With employers looking to make smart hiring decisions in the tight economy and social media data being created every day, Social Intelligence is likely to be joined in the social background check space by competitors soon.