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News

Social networking bad for career prospects.

Backgroundchecking.com : 27 July, 2007  (Technical Article)
BackgroundChecking.com warms of the dangers of using social networking sites for upwardly mobile career builders.
The increasing popularity of social networking sites is jeopardising the career prospects of individuals, warns leading employee screening company BackgroundChecking.com.

With a rise in online searches as a method of employee screening by prospective employers, the personal information, images, flippant comment and messages that are uploaded to the Internet without a second thought have both short term and long term implications for candidates.

BackgroundChecking.com managing director Steve Bailey comments: "We are increasingly asked to undertake media searches and Internet searches as part of our employee screening services and this looks to become a standard element in the future. The findings of these searches can provide valuable insight into personality and current and past events involving a particular candidate who has consented to background checks.

"Users of these networking sites don't seem to be giving sufficient consideration to the fact that messages written in jest, criticism of current or previous employers, images of their weekend activities and their personal interests are in the public domain and can be easily accessed at the touch of a button, throwing their career prospects into turmoil.

"Many employers now look at reference to their business within such sites as an extended representation of their company - and even the smallest negative depiction from a current or ex-employee can have a huge impact on how their organisation is perceived. This can, of course, have a direct impact when employment references are taken up.

"The users of networking sites need to remember that information on the Internet is there long-term, even of the person removes it, and is not subject to any data protection or time barring. The interaction of such sites is often controlled by the originator. However, when other individuals ('friends') are nominated and given access, there is no effective way to prevent the subsequent forwarding or publishing of the contents of what was intended to be a private network.

"What is said may seem clever today, but not in the years to come when a candidate loses an exciting career prospect because of it. Bear in mind that there is nowhere to hide from an embarrassing or detrimental Internet history - you can not relocate or emigrate, it is the World Wide Web!"

With a recent survey illustrating the alarming levels of dishonesty amongst the British workforce (87 per cent of those questioned said that if they knew that companies thoroughly checked all CV details it would act as a deterrent to falsifying any information, yet 66 per cent of people do not believe that employers thoroughly check the details on all CVs and job application forms*), the Internet is providing another means of evaluating the suitability of job applicants.
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