Charlene Cain on Background Screening of Job Seekers
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Charlene Cain on Background Screening of Job Seekers



Charlene Cain, AALL Placement Committee, presents on Background screen of job candidates, at the Careers in Federal Law Libraries event during the AALL 2011 Annual conference. Event was hosted at ...

Charlene Cain, AALL Placement Committee, presents on Background screen of job candidates, at the Careers in Federal Law Libraries event during the AALL 2011 Annual conference. Event was hosted at Drexel iSchool on Saturday, July 23, 2011



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  • DiscriminationEmployers may be accused of disregarding candidates who are members of protected classes by viewing online profiles of people based on prohibited criteria such as race, creed, color, nationality, sex, religion, marital status, or medical condition. “Too Much Information. ”CredibilityVerify that the online information actually refers to the applicant in question“computer twins” with similar names. “cyber slamming” which is usually done anonymously and includes derogatory comments on websites or setting up a fake website that does not belong to the supposed owner.AccuracyEmployers need to be aware that negative statements might not bet true—how can the employer verify that the negative information is accurate, up-to-date, authentic, and if it even belongs to or applies to the candidate in question?PrivacyInternet background checks have yet to be fully explored by the courts as a privacy issue.Everything online is not necessarily “fair game” for employers. If a person has not adjusted the privacy setting so that his or her social network site is easily available from an Internet search, that person may have a more difficult time arguing that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Terms of use for many social network sites prohibit commercial use and many users literally believe that their social network site is exactly that, a place to freely socialize. The argument would be that it is the community norm, and a generally accepted attitude, that social media sites are off limits to unwelcome visitors even if the door is left open. 

Charlene Cain on Background Screening of Job Seekers Charlene Cain on Background Screening of Job Seekers Presentation Transcript

  • What’s Your Online Profile?
    And what does it mean
    for your job search?
    Charlene Cain
    July 23, 2011
  • MySpace
  • Prosecutors Look to Social Media for Selecting Casey Anthony Jurors
    Posted May 16, 2011 10:54 AM CDTBy Stephanie Francis Ward
    Prosecutors trying Casey Anthony, a 25-year-old Florida woman charged with murdering her young daughter, were armed with Internet information during a special Saturday jury selection, checking out panel members’ social media profiles during voir dire.
    According to the Associated Press, prosecutors in the high-profile case used a preemptory challenge to dismiss an individual who allegedly posted the jury instructions on his Facebook page. He also joked about writing a book, the AP reports.
    Another juror, who Tweeted about a fender bender, was also excused. “Cops in Florida are idiots and completely useless,” was most likely the tweet that caught the government’s attention.
    The case now has 12 jurors selected. Judge Belvin Perry Jr. said that once 15 potential jurors were chosen, he would like to start swearing them in.
    How ubiquitous is social media impact?

  • A Hiring Manager: Why I won’t Hire you
    “And speaking of Google …
    I googled you and found that:a) You are weird, frankly, orb) You whine a lot on listservs with searchable archives orc) Whatever.  
     After all, you googled the library you are interviewing at and likely googled members of the search committee, didn’t you?”
  • How do Employers do Background Screening?
    Consumer Reporting Agencies
    Criminal background checks
    Immigration status
    Behavior on social networking sites
  • What are they trying to find?
    Illegal immigrants
    Patterns of indiscretion
    discriminatory attitudes
    poor skills related to employment
    academic fraud
    criminal or inappropriate behavior
  • Why do they do it? due diligence
    U.S. Department of Commerce:
    30% of business failures directly attributable to poorly-executed hiring procedures
    5% of employees later found to have criminal records
    10% of applicants who sign background check waivers have criminal records
    40% of applicants have fraudulent resumes
  • 2009 survey
    2,600 hiring managers surveyed
    45% use social networking sites to research candidates
  • survey
    What do employers use?
    29% use Facebook
    26% use LinkedIn
    21% use MySpace
    11% search blogs
    7% follow applicants on Twitter
  • survey
    • 35% of employers rejected job applicants based upon information on social networking sites
  • Reasons cited for applicant rejection
    Content on social networking sites
    53%: Inappropriate photographs or information
    44%: Content about drinking or using drugs
    35%: Negative comments re: employers, colleagues or clients
    29%: Poor communication skills
    26%: Discriminatory comments
    24%: Misrepresentation of qualifications
    20%: Sharing previous employer’s confidential information
  • National association of Colleges & Employers (NAcE) survey of college students
    70% of Class of 2011 seniors said they expect employers to view candidates’ social networking profiles
  • Tweeting
    Tweeting has the weight of trust
    Users willing to share intimate details
    Fodder for opposing campaigns to use against politicians 
    When Tweets go viral they can be used against incumbents
  • Tweeting, cont’d
    Tweeting has tremendous potential liability
    Tweets are subject to electronic discovery/subpoena 
    Heavily-regulated companies required to preserve and maintain electronic records, including tweets
  • Tweeting, cont’d
    Tweets can go viral and be publicized
    Tweets cannot really be deleted
    What if a trade secret is Tweeted?
    What if an employee sends a personal Tweet via a corporate account?
    Case in point: #gettngslizzerd
  • Employer risks
    It is not illegal to search online profiles during the employment process, but doing so can lead to:
    Accusations/reality of discrimination
    Questions regarding credibility and accuracy of information found
    Questions regarding how much of the information found is “fair game”
  • Potential legal risks for employers
    Does looking at online profiles spark an action in violation of
    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
    Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
    Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
    Executive Order 11246
  • How employers protect themselves
    Obtain consent first
    Have a clear internal policy and documented training
    Have objective & documented methods and metrics
    Screen the same sites for all candidates
    Have an in-house person not connected to any hiring process do the screening
    Pre-define the types of information screening for and the criteria used
    Employers should never friend an applicant
  • How can you protect yourself?
    1. Keep your networking professional, even if your settings are completely private
  • How can you protect yourself?
    2. Keep your profiles as private as possible
    Facebook: Only let your friends view your information
    Twitter: Make sure you check your followers list regularly
  • How can you protect yourself?
    Facebook privacy settings
    Realize that
    if another user tags you in a photo or video or at a place, you can remove the tag or limit who can see that tag
    some content you share will show up on your friends’ pages and other pages they visit
    even if you remove information from your profile or delete your account, that information may remain viewable elsewhere if it has been shared with others, or it was copied or stored by other users
  • How can you protect yourself?
    Facebook privacy settings
    Realize that
    messages you send to others cannot be removed
    when you post on another user’s profile or comment on another user’s post, that post will be subject to the other user’s privacy settings
    if you use an external source to post to Facebook, such as a mobile application, the privacy setting for that post will be set by that external source
  • How can you protect yourself?
    3. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know personally