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This 8/19/09 Career Builder press release shows a relatively new and growing area of corporate misconduct.

Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds
Career Expert Provides DOs and DON'Ts for Job Seekers on Social Networking

Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds

CHICAGO, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As social networking grows increasingly pervasive, more employers are utilizing these sites to screen potential employees. Forty-five percent of employers reported in a recent CareerBuilder survey that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, a big jump from 22 percent last year. Another 11 percent plan to start using social networking sites for screening. More than 2,600 hiring managers participated in the survey, which was completed in June 2009.

Of those who conduct online searches/background checks of job candidates, 29 percent use Facebook, 26 percent use LinkedIn and 21 percent use MySpace. One-in-ten (11 percent) search blogs while 7 percent follow candidates on Twitter.

The top industries most likely to screen job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines include those that specialize in technology and sensitive information: Information Technology (63 percent) and Professional & Business Services (53 percent).

The press release is written in neutral language, but this is really disturbing. Career Builder is focused more on helping job seekers cope with this environment, but civil liberties supporters should work to change that environment. Corporations seem to think they have more and more of an entitlement to snoop into employees' private lives. Now, they extend that to new hires. Privacy is eroding in an era of growing corporate power. Here's more:
Why Employers Disregarded Candidates After Screening Online

Job seekers are cautioned to be mindful of the information they post online and how they communicate directly with employers. Thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:

* Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information - 53 percent
* Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs - 44 percent
* Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients - 35 percent
* Candidate showed poor communication skills - 29 percent
* Candidate made discriminatory comments - 26 percent
* Candidate lied about qualifications - 24 percent
* Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer - 20 percent

The first three are incredibly disturbing. Now, corporations feel entitled to have control over what people say to their friends. The fourth is bizarre. Why should someone supposed to devote a lot of effort to highly skilled communication in an informal medium that is for people who are close to them?

There need to be much stronger privacy laws in the online era. Employers and interviewers should be prohibited by law from doing any of the following:

1) Making friends requests, either overtly or covertly.

2) Googling current or potential employees.

3) Asking for any social networking information not available to the general public.

Also, any hiring, promotional, and firing decisions based on these privacy violations should be subject to wrongful termination and invasion of privacy suits.

I've heard that young people are leaving Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace in droves. I'm beginning to see why.

 

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