DATE: May 2012 - Big Brother is Watching!
In today’s world, the Internet is an end-less canvas that can be covered with your whole life’s story in permanent ink. Some of us
choose to upload, post, tweet or comment on anything and everything in our lives with-out considering the consequences. Other times we end up a victim of being in the wrong place at the right time for someone with a camera phone and a bright idea to post pictures or video of you all over Face-book or YouTube. No permission is needed, and these words and images can be branded in cyberspace forever for the world to see. Either way, things people do or say today have a direct reflection on what happens to-morrow. Just ask that one person we all know who didn’t get that dream job they were try-ing to land, or were denied an apartment and can’t understand why.
On a daily basis, everyone from creditors and debt collection agencies to property man-agers and employers are scouring the Inter-net looking into the personal lives of people they are in contact with. Everyone wants to be a “Cyber Detective,” but not everyone has the tools and the know-how to do it. As well, with privacy issues and legal restrictions, you can only go so far before you hit a wall. Media coverage has been rampant on this topic and has created controversy. Recently, employers or potential employers are even going as far as asking for passwords to social media sites to take a peek into the private lives of others. The question we have for you is: Should social media be part of your screening process?
A recent seminar covering legal issues associated with screening and hiring was held in Albany, New York by John M. Bagyi, Esq.
SPHR of Bond Schoeneck & King PLLC. Mr. Bagyi came up with some interesting points in regards to social media in the hiring
process: 56% of employers use social media to screen potential employees, up from 34% in 2008. The most common reasons employers used to NOT hire someone based on social media screening was inappropriate photos or information, followed by references to drugs and /or alcohol abuse and negative comments about previous employers or co-workers. Poor communication skills, discriminatory comments and misrepresentation about qualifications were other reasons most commonly used by employers to not hire someone. Re-member though, there are many legal concerns with this type of search which is why Mr. Bagyi suggests employers may want to consider using a third party company who is familiar with the legalities and guidelines that have to be followed.
There are many benefits to outsourcing any Cyber investigation to a third party company like Commercial Investigations. Once an
employer determines that social media back-ground checks will be conducted, they should adopt a policy that clearly states that information regarding protected status obtained through media shall not be considered in the hiring process. Once the policy is adopted, we can conduct the search without bias but with a defined search criteria. Some factors that can-not be used against someone are age, sex, sexual preference, nationality, religion or race. We at Commercial Investigations have no per-sonal or direct relationship with the applicant, which makes it easy for us. This is a benefit because of the fact that we will not use inad-missible information in our findings. In other words, let the professionals at Commercial Investigations do the digging while you reap the rewards of building a successful team. It is much easier to avoid a bad hire than to get rid of a bad hire.
To learn more about CI’s Cyber Investigation processes contact a CI Representative at (800)284-0906 or at
firstname.lastname@example.org areas of Albany.