Promise And Perils Of Internet Searching Job Candidates


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Employers increasingly use Internet searches to recruit and background check applicants, and to monitor employees. This has risks and benefits for both employers and employees. Presentation slides for 1/2 hour to hour talk on subject suitable for wide variety of audiences.

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  • Promise And Perils Of Internet Searching Job Candidates

    1. 1. Promise & Perils of Internet Searching Job Candidates George L. Lenard Attorney at Law Harris Dowell Fisher & Harris, LC George’s Employment Blawg
    2. 2. Sources of Online Personal Information <ul><li>Search engine </li></ul><ul><li>Social networking sites </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs and blog search engines </li></ul><ul><li>Photo and video sites (Flickr, YouTube) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Two Different Uses in Hiring <ul><li>Sourcing/recruiting </li></ul><ul><li>Investigating job candidates and applicants </li></ul><ul><li>Can be hard to separate the two </li></ul>
    4. 4. Many Hiring Managers Use Social Networking Sites <ul><li>22% use to research job candidates </li></ul><ul><li>34% of them rejected candidates based on information found </li></ul><ul><li>24% of them were favorably influenced by information found </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> Survey </li></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Negative Information Examples <ul><li>Drinking, drug use </li></ul><ul><li>Provocative or inappropriate photos </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of poor writing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Negative attitude towards current or past job </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence of dishonesty on resume, application </li></ul><ul><li>Tattoos, piercings, hair, clothing </li></ul>
    6. 6. Bad-Mouther
    7. 7. Drunken Party Maniac
    8. 8. Pothead
    9. 9. Positive Information Examples <ul><li>Suitable work history, skills, education </li></ul><ul><li>Writing skills (possibly also web design, photography, video skills) </li></ul><ul><li>Professional image </li></ul><ul><li>Endorsements </li></ul><ul><li>Impressive connections </li></ul><ul><li>Good fit for culture </li></ul>
    10. 10. Legal Issues <ul><li>Reliability of information </li></ul><ul><li>Too much information & discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Prohibited use of private conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Fair Credit Reporting Act </li></ul><ul><li>Invasion of privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Terms of service </li></ul>
    11. 11. Reliability <ul><li>Identity – Does online item refer to right person? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Computer twins” common (i.e. same name and even similar date of birth) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Authenticity – Did applicant create or authorize the item? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to create fake web page </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accuracy – people themselves may fib on their sites </li></ul>
    12. 12. Too Much Information -- Discrimination <ul><li>May learn facts that may not lawfully be considered in hiring </li></ul><ul><li>May lose best defense to discrimination claim </li></ul>
    13. 13. MySpace Profile Mixes Relevant, Irrelevant, and Dangerous Facts <ul><li>Smoker </li></ul><ul><li>Drinker </li></ul><ul><li>Children [Have, Want, Don't want] </li></ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul><ul><li>Income bracket </li></ul><ul><li>Company, location, title, and dates employed </li></ul><ul><li>Networking Category [Field, Sub-Field, Role] </li></ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Date Of Birth </li></ul><ul><li>Occupation </li></ul><ul><li>Address </li></ul><ul><li>Ethnicity </li></ul><ul><li>Body Type & Height </li></ul><ul><li>Interests </li></ul><ul><li>Music, Movies, TV, Books </li></ul><ul><li>Marital Status </li></ul><ul><li>Sexual Orientation </li></ul><ul><li>Religion </li></ul>
    14. 14. Example: Disability Disclosed <ul><li>From a blog: </li></ul>
    15. 15. Prohibited use of private conduct <ul><li>Some states prohibit using smoking, drinking, and/or other private lawful conduct in hiring </li></ul><ul><li>Calif., Colo. & NY protect employees from consideration of any legal conduct away from workplace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exception: if conduct would hurt business interests, or be inconsistent with business needs </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. Fair Credit Reporting Act <ul><li>Not just about credit </li></ul><ul><li>Regulates use of personal information for employment purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Applies if information gathered by third parties, such as outside recruiters or background screening firms </li></ul><ul><li>Requires prior written consent and disclosure of report if information causes negative employment decision </li></ul>
    17. 17. Invasion of Privacy <ul><li>Many applicants consider social network page or blog to be like a private party </li></ul><ul><li>But many employers see it as the equivalent of the town square </li></ul><ul><li>Key to private sector invasion of privacy claims is “reasonable expectation of privacy” </li></ul>
    18. 18. Terms of Use and Reasonable Expectation of Privacy <ul><li>Sites have rules, including prohibition of pretending to be someone else </li></ul><ul><li>They provide privacy protections that can be dodged such as by pretexting or accessing through someone else’s computer </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook and MySpace also prohibit commercial use </li></ul><ul><li>Rules may create reasonable expectation of privacy and may be independently enforceable </li></ul>