Employers Using Facebook for Background Checking, Part II

A couple of months ago, when I wrote the post “Employers Using Facebook for Background Checking” and the similar post at collegerecruiter.com, I had no idea it would be such a hot topic, generating several interviews and other interesting phone conversations.

In the course of these further discussions, I had some further thoughts (funny how that works).

I realized that one problem arising when technology rapidly opens up new ways of communicating and relating is that we tend to think that all-new technology requires all-new legal analysis, and all-new preventive-law measures. Perhaps more accurately, we may think old wisdom no longer applies, and may “forget” key lessons learned long ago in connection with other communication modes.

Today, the first example:

Conventional Wisdom vs. Internet Truth

Conventional Wisdom — Not everything you hear/read is true.

Internet truth — Not everything you see/read on the Internet is true.

That may seem like a big “duh,” but a social-network-as-employment-screening-tool example indicates that many who are highly enthused about this approach may be overlooking this truth.

(Hat tip to Nathan Gilliatt at Net-Savvy, who linked to the Gen Y’d blog.)

Hi-Tech Back-Stabbing

According to the Gen Y’d post, “the new trend among highschoolers” is “creating fake myspace accounts” appearing to be created by others. Gen Y’d says:

It goes beyond high school. There are cases of college students creating explicit or unflattering (to say it nicely) websites and user accounts pretending to be people they view as competition for jobs.

Think about it – they aren’t dumb. If they know someone will be looking to compare — who would you hire — the one with a friendly site or the one that’s very explicit? The sad part is — the other student may not even know the site exists, yet their reputation’s tarnished.

Employer Beware

Gen Y’d (a/k/a Sarah White of White Consulting Group), addresses those involved in recruiting and hiring with this Conventional Wisdom redux: “If you do go to those sites and look up candidate websites, keep in mind that you can’t believe everything you see.”


Check out accounting jobs, UK at AccountantCareers.co.uk.


  1. Jamie Beard

    Good evening, my name is Jamie Beard, and I am a staff member of Titan Television, a Broadcast Journalism class at my school (Lee’s Summit West High). I am currently doing a story on this exact topic for students my age, so they can be aware of what to put on Facebook and what not to put on Facebook for employers to see. If i could get an email back regarding any businesses your aware of that do check Facebook before hiring, that would be beneficial to my story.
    Jamie Beard

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