Jun 29, 2011

Your new job: maintaining your digital social reputation

It was only a matter of time that a service would pop up to help employers do background checks on your digital social life. According to a recent Forbes article:

The FTC determined that Social Intelligence Corp. was in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This means a search of what you’ve said or posted to Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/blogs and the Internet in general may become a standard part of background checks when you apply for a job.

The firm, Social Intelligence, keeps reports for 7 years for legal reasons but does not reuse them. This apparently allows you to clean up your digital trail. Or maybe you don't have to. I mean if you're a jerk it will come out sooner or later when you show up for work. All this does is make it easier for employers to figure that out before they hire you. Of course I'm waiting for the discrimination suit; which is most likely why Social Intelligence is keeping reports for 7 years. There are reasons why employers can't ask certain personal questions (i.e., your age) in interviews.

It is a good news is that employers need to disclose if they are doing a "social background check". I don't know about you but something about that phrase sounds really wrong. So at least there's transparency and the option to opt out of the check (and likely the job).

Since the checks can only access public information your new job might just be to make sure that privacy settings are always current on your social networks, especially if you're job hunting. The wild card is when someone else tags you or posts about you. Yet another reason to keep tabs on your social tools.