Career experts frequently issue warnings to job seekers to “clean up their act” and remove any inappropriate content or images from social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn before they are found by prospective employers who run their own unofficial background checks on candidates. It is not just job seekers who need to be wary, but also existing employees who are keen to keep a squeaky-clean professional reputation.
Having spotted the trend of recruiters prying into the private lives of their current or future staff members, a start-up company in the U.S. has developed a software program to make HR’s job easier by searching social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and so on for “negative characteristics.” The software alerts the user to any suggestion of drug use, gang membership or other examples of poor judgment, allowing HR to quickly and easily identify candidates they might consider to be unsuitable.
And the new software does not just help HR staff to investigate the antics of potential candidates. The company is also offering a service that allows ongoing scans of social media sites to take place on existing staff members and real-time notifications of anything untoward to be delivered to managers.
If your profiles on Facebook and similar sites contain anything that you wouldn’t want your boss to see, now might be a good time to clean up your own act and activate those privacy settings!