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"If I Don't Like Your Online Profile, I Will Not Hire You!"


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Presentation from the HCII2014 conference (Heraklion, Crete, Greece, June 25-27, 2014), co-authored with Birgy Lorenz.

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"If I Don't Like Your Online Profile, I Will Not Hire You!"

  1. 1. "If I Do Not Like Your Online Profile, I Will Not Hire You!" Birgy Lorenz Kaido Kikkas (presenter) Digital Safety Lab, Digital Safety Lab, Tallinn University Tallinn University + Estonian IT College HCII 2014, June 2014 Heraklion, Crete, Greece Kaido Kikkas 2014. This presentation can be accessed and downloaded from in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA) Estonia license (v.3.0 or newer)
  2. 2. Privacy... ● … was once just a philosophical category ● … then it became a legal matter (e.g. ancient Jewish laws about the location of windows) ● … then it went technical (e.g. how to protect sensitive information from interception) ● … nowadays it is increasingly behavioural (out there, we see a lot of smartphones around – unfortunately, many of them tend to be operated by dumbusers :-( )
  3. 3. The F Generation ● X, Y, Z… Now there is the Facebook gen ● Digital natives ● If you are not online, you do not exist ● Some of them have reached adulthood by now, becoming employers... ● … a lot more are employees… ● but even more are yet to become
  4. 4. Our study ● Main point – to find out what (if any) is the difference of online behaviour expectation between (future) employees and current employers ● Mostly carried out by Birgy Lorenz in 2013 at five Estonian schools, two higher education facilities (TLU and EITC; altogether ~200) and among a group of employers (~35) ● Produced a mixed bag of results, some of which are rather thought-provoking
  5. 5. Main questions ● Whether Estonian companies perform an online background check on prospective employees and how it affects the choice ● How do young people (school and university students) feel about that ● How do they manage their online presence ● What is done if too much has become public ● Note: this presentation focuses on general outcomes - exact figures are in the article
  6. 6. Does it make sense to be online… ? ● A rising trend: 'ordinary people' need protection not only from government and companies, but more and more from their peers as well ● 'The rules of the game' are increasingly difficult => they are misunderstood and/or ignored ● In a small society (in Estonia, 6 degrees become 2), anonymity can be slippery
  7. 7. A well-done online profile... ● … can boost the person's 'social capital' online, promoting interaction and new contacts ● … can also invite unwanted attention: – "hey, this dude is pretty rich" – "the guy boasts in Facebook about being in Crete for a week. So his apartment is empty, let's pay him a visit" – et cetera (identity theft, blackmailing etc)
  8. 8. Some findings ● Students/pupils: – Most of them believe they will be screened by employers; most have screened themselves – Most of them are content with their online image, even if a minority has tried to remove some information – Most of them reason that when only 20% of online information about themselves are submitted by themselves, it cannot be trusted at all (NB! The employers clearly disagree)
  9. 9. ... ● … – Most of them consider their work to be separate from private life – what happens in the evening is not the employers' business – Most of them accept 'friend requests' rather liberally – Most of them believe that their work abilities cannot be evaluated on their private life (whether on- or offline)
  10. 10. … ● Employers: – 2/3 of them will seek information online about potential employees – 2/3 assume the information to be true – 1/3 consider it very suspicious when nothing can be found about the person – Most of them drop the candidate if some serious misbehaviour is found (excessive drinking, drug experience, violence etc)
  11. 11. ... ● Most of them consider it a good sign if not too much information can be found (interpreted to indicate a responsive person) ● At the same time, only 1/4 discuss their online findings with the candidate during the interview ● Most of them are only superficially aware of ethical/legal considerations about online screening
  12. 12. Main ways of coping ● Pupils – I upload nothing, others do about me (thus everything that is there is unreliable) – I upload lots of good stuff about me, so occasional bad things will be lost among that – I upload total crap, nobody cares ● Students – Search and destroy (significant among IT guys) – conscious selection of information – I know about threats, but honestly don't care
  13. 13. Red or blue pill...? ● Most of the youth were content with their online reflection. Yet, during the case study, in more than 50% of cases, people were able to reveal – Home address and/or phone – Locations and pictures of various places connected to the person – Usernames at different online services – Contact networks – Location deduced from pastime activities
  14. 14. Contradictions ● Young people tend to downplay the impact of online information (as if a kind of game), while employers take it for true ● Young people think that if something was not uploaded by them, it does not count. Employers disagree ("Google cannot be wrong, can it?") ● Young people assume that their private life is separate from work. Employers disagree
  15. 15. Conclusions ● Responsible media usage must be stressed further at school (actually, even some kinder- gartens have introduced it in Estonia). Online privacy of others should be more important ● Employers must be addressed too – to increase awareness about various ethical and legal issues concerning online screening
  16. 16. Thanks for your attention! Contact: The Digital Safety Lab is supported by the Tiger University Program of the Estonian Information Technology Foundation for Education ming-t-shirts/pebkacmenstshirt