LABOUR: Employers Start Cyber Vetting
Recent Western Cape Business News
ONLINE social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace – known as a person’s ‘network reputation’ or ‘Net-Rep’ - are becoming almost as important as employment references, according to a leading global headhunter.
Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, MD of Cape Town-based Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters says a person’s online profile, possibly featuring risqué happy snaps and other professionally inappropriate bits of information, has the potential to extinguish that big corporate job you may be rooting for.
She says cyber-vetting of candidates- has become an easy way to find out more about potential employees.
“It is amazing to see how much information one can find on social networking sites and even if people are not registered on one of the better-known sites, ‘googling’ someone will usually provide access to some background on the individual.”
She says employers and recruiters frequently ‘cyber vet’ potential candidates either to find confirmation that the job seeker is in fact an expert in their said field or other general information about them.
“One of the frightening truths about the Internet is that whatever is posted generally stays there. Whether it’s an angry ex’s Blog outburst, or an innocently posted revealing photograph that may have found its way onto Flickr or Facebook, once it’s out there it’s accessible indefinitely. All of this may appear next to professional endorsements and expert commentary that the job seeker may have been cited for, providing a view of a candidate that is much more ‘revealing’ than one might desire in the professional context.”
She says cyber-vetting can reveal candidates’ true interests, likes and dislikes, beliefs and aspirations. It may also show the candidate to be the expert he has positioned himself as, or an absolute fake.
“It’s relatively easy to flip through a person’s personal pages and put together a perception of the candidate – which may not be entirely accurate, depending on what is easily accessible.”
She says people generally regard networking sites as harmless fun, but recommends that you be very aware of what you and your friends post onto public spaces on the internet.
From a corporate perspective the information can be quite detrimental, clients or employers could become privy to images of alcohol abuse, a lack of respect for ones job or colleagues, or other evidence of inappropriate activities that don’t fit the ethics of the company
“There is nothing stopping your current employer from conducting a little ‘cyber investigation’ of their own. Take control over what you put out there.”
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