I’ve heard warnings not to put any controversial information on social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook (especially) because things you put out on the web has a chance of leaving a bad mark on your name.
Apparently, the new thing your future employers are doing is downloading everything people put up about themselves on these sites by adding you as a friend or otherwise via the various networks that are set up. Then when it comes time to consider recruiting you for a job based on your résumé, they will also pull out these internet files they’ve gathered and use it against you.
A blog called CollegeRecruiter.comBlog features an article called: Employers Using Facebook for Background Checking: Is It Legal? Just as the title suggests, the article explores the legality of the premeditated action that these employers are taking. The author suggests that these actions may infringe on some laws such as the discrimination, invasion of privacy, and terms of service violation laws. Check out the full article for a more detailed analysis.
As another thought on this issue, how different is this from the recent scandals that have happened in New York with Governor Spitzer, or going even further back the Clinton affair that has put the whole country on its feet? Weren’t these individuals just going on about their private lives in the manner that should only affect them and not their careers? If we feel justified in criticizing the politicians for their actions, then why do we find that employers are violating all kinds of privacy principles by looking at our personal information? The media does this all the time and we have no problem with it; in fact we thank the media for digging up dirt and can’t wait for the new issues of the next gossip magazine to read about some washed- up celebrity.
So, before we set out to change the way the world works, just be smarter on your own accord. Considering that these things ARE happening, just make it easier on yourself. Keep the sleazy drunken photos of yourself on your desktop rather than displaying them all over the web. That’s just asking for blackmail. Hopefully, employers will cut some slack and remember themselves when they were young, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.