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Social Media & Background Checking

Updated on April 27, 2012

Just a really quick hub on social media and employment and job interviews.

Now that employers have access to profiles on social media what will become of our interviews for jobs or our current employment if employers happen to look us up?

I thought about this because I recently background checked the owner of a site that creates an API. I was interested in integrating their code for an online business I have developed so I searched out the owners profile.

The ability to background check anyone via social media - Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus has become easier than ever but how much should employers rely on this?

I found the aforementioned profile. Well, at least I think so. There is the first issue.

I made the assumption that I had found the person in question as the name, location and company of the person matched a whois lookup.

In this case the chances of getting it wrong were probably slim.

If I'd looked up a more common name, however, it is not hard to imagine how a potential employer could easily make a mistake with this.

Here's the second issue.

Assuming I had found the correct profile - staring back at me on this social media page (Google Plus) was a picture of a person turned away from the camera finishing a drink, glass held high - it looked like a cocktail.

What would you think seeing this?

Here I am looking for a professional and reliable business to build my business on and the first impression I get of my potential business partner is someone in party mode.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a judgemental person but what does a pic like this do for a potential employee or partner when someone is looking for signs of solid business practices and reliability?

Is the business owner aware of the impression he is leaving for people looking him up? Probably not.

His social media page was pretty sparse - perhaps neglected and he might have created it just for a bit of a laugh and to follow a clown or two. Fair play to him but the overall impression left by this page could be detrimental to his business.

I might add, this seems unfair.

We might need to find ways to distinguish between PLAYTIME pages and WORK pages - everyone needs their playtime and the internet is a great place to be doing that - in fact, I would say most social media users would be doing more of this (not work) when they get on social media.

Off the cuff remarks, sharing quirky pictures, stories and links etc...

But does social media - perhaps inadvertently - break the old rule that says DONT mix BUSINESS with PLEASURE?

And should employers make a point of disregarding the social media pages of prospective employees?

How are we to get around this?

I don't have the answers but one solution perhaps is a pre-emptive strike!

Let your potential employer know of your social media page and explain it's a bit of a laugh so from the outset he or she is not drawing conclusions about you based on your social pages.

Look at your social media page and ask yourself - what will an employer think about seeing that - how do I explain it and then EXPLAIN IT!

I think we need to consider the contrast.

In the past, you could get away with certain behaviour once a year at the office Christmas party but can you do the same with your record in social media?

I hope so!


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    • profile image
      Author 5 years ago

      For sure TKI - I suppose we are becoming more transparent to everyone - I tend to think not hiding might be a good thing - except for bank details that is! Thanks for the rating always good to see you drop by.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 5 years ago

      Hi Pdog, This is such a relevant hub in today's day. This topic is especially true for kids who are applying to college and looking for jobs too. Social media can yield a lot of information about someone, not for the moment, but about their past too. Great hub! Rated up, useful, and interesting.

      So tell me about Zurker.

    • profile image
      Author 5 years ago

      Yes BP, it is a very different world but keeping a low profile? It might be sensible but isn't it sad if we have to do this - it means we are not really FREE?

    • profile image
      Author 5 years ago

      Drbj, I wonder if it is possible to not post anything that might be taken the wrong way? - the more you write the more people can jump on it - even if it was off the cuff comments made in jest. That's the problem with much of this but damned if I'm going to pre-meditate over everything I post.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 5 years ago

      It's a different world, so my advice is keep a low profile because no matter what somebody is watching.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 5 years ago from south Florida

      You make an extremely valid point, PD, since most people do not even think about the negative ramifications their social media posts may present to a potential employer or business partner.

      Good advice might be do not post anything you would not want your mother, nay, your grandmother to read.