When Social Media is Part of the Background Check

Tue, November 24th, 2009 - 5:27 am - By Gordon Basichis

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It should be no secret at this point that many employers are monitoring social media as part of their preemployment screening program.  Many consider the social media monitor just one more background check.   Employers monitor largely for a two-fold purpose.  The first is to recruit prospective employees.   The second is to filter out those prospective employees they may find unsuitable for their working environment.

With jobs being scarce, thanks to the dwindled economy, the job market is that much more competitive.  What was acceptable a couple of years ago may not quite make the grade today.   As a job hunter, you are up against a lot of competition.  With so many people out of work, you need the edge.   And to decide who is the best fit for the few jobs available, employers are drilling down further with a variety of background checks.  We see in increase in drug testing.  No employer wants to make a costly mistake.

With respect to how you project yourself on social media, I have come across a great list on The Ladder.  The article is written by William Aruda, and it is entitled 10 Ways to Wreck Your Personal Branding.     I loved this article.  It addresses the issues of messaging and addressing your personal branding.  What to do and what not to do.  And why.

The listing, Number 9 about making the mistake of talking too much about yourself alone is worth the reading.  But the other nine points are equally as valuable.   It is a good list to follow.   Unfortunately, very few do.  I see some amazing faux pas on the social media, language and content that is not only an obstacle to engaging an employer, but in some cases so utterly stupid it defies descriptions.

I would add to this list that you should clean up your act.  Not only edit your social media listing and think it out, but look into your background checks to see if there is information that will harm your chances for finding work.  Bad credit?  Small bills that you should have paid that have gone to collections?   Driving records.  Infractions.  These are all things to consider.

With social media, try not to brag about that big beer bash that left you all smashed and standing naked in the parking lot, singing “River Deep, Mountain High” at 4 A.M.  Employers are less inclined to find this appealing.

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