Passing Employer’s “Background Check”

 My mom e-mailed me this article: Employers monitor your social networking profile.  More and more companies are spying on their employees as how much time they spend in the social web whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter. Companies are also watching carefully the content on their employees’ profile.   This is reality, especially for students and job seekers.

 Just like a portfolio or an interview,  a person’s character says it all.  Even though an employee might be outstanding in their career, they have to be careful on how they conduct themselves outside the professional world.  For example, I am aware of what I say on Facebook , what I post, and what images are on my profile. It doesn’t make much sense for me to prepare a professional portfolio, resume, and go to various conferences to further my public relations career if my social profile content isn’t professional or appropriate to share with potential employers.

Outside of work, student organizations, and class, you still represent those organizations. What you say and post on your Facebook Profile or Twitter represents those groups as well.  Companies today are realizing that.  As a result, companies are taking matters into their own hands by spying on their employees using a new software called Social Sentry.  Social Sentry is a software that can track a person’s social web use only on Facebook and Twitter, but will also track use on LinkedIn, YouTube, and MySpace in the future.

How does this pertain to me is what you’re asking right? Well it pertains to you in so many ways.  One way is the time a person spends on Facebook by updating their status throughout the day making it seem like they do not have anything else to do besides “play” on Facebook. As a result, it doesn’t look good on the employer’s side. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make your profile more appropriate:

  • if you have to question a photo, don’t upload it or tag yourself
  • What groups are you associated with on Facebook? Will your mom be proud of these groups?
  • What type of language is on your profile?
  • if you were asked in an interview to log into your Facebook, would you be ashamed?

You never know who’s checking your profile or using Google to search for you. Companies aren’t just using the traditional background checks. They are using the social web to their advantage to conduct their background checks as well: Will you pass the background check? If not, companies may dismiss or fire employees due to their social web profile content and behavior.

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13 Responses to “Passing Employer’s “Background Check””

  1. mbutle Says:

    Hmm, very good article to read for graduates such as myself that are entering the work field shortly, and will probably be put in a situation like this shortly. I have a Twitter page that I try to censor. But sometimes when I am angry or sad I use twitter as my venting system. I would hate for employers to read some of my tweets and think that I am an angry person. Still compared to other tweets I see, I really dont think that I am that bad!

  2. Comments « The Maranda Writes Says:

    […] comment is awaiting moderation. April 15, 2010 at 1:57 pmHmm, very good article to read for graduates such as myself that are entering the work field […]

  3. Brittany Maree Says:

    This post is very informational. It is good for people who are about to graduate for sure. Glad you posted this because I think other people need to see this before they just go out into the business world. To address the Facebook issue, I agree with your points completely. There are many Facebook pages I have seen that I would not want my sister to see let alone a potential employer. People should definitely think about their Facebook page before they post some of the things they post, or that I have seen on some pages.

  4. kdwhigham Says:

    This is so interesting. I knew businesses were looking at Facebook profiles, but I was wondering how they were doing it exactly. It’s funny though how in some jobs they want you off social networking sites, while in others, they may hire you to do just that… twitter and create facebook fan pages and blog and such. I guess it’s the same concept of too much of anything is never good. If your on it too much, you’re not gonna have a real life. but If your not on it at all, your not building experience.

  5. Blog Comments « From Student to Life Says:

    […] 21. April 21, 2010: How to Pass Your Employer’s “Background Check” by Lauren Hopkins […]

  6. TOW 14: Guest Blogger « Brittany Maree's Blog Says:

    […] 14: Guest Blogger This week my guest blogger is Lauren Hopkins.  I found her post interesting for people in our class, since most of us are graduating in a few weeks.  Her post is […]

  7. ladylondon2455 Says:

    Love this post! So much I would love to feature it on my blog. This information is very important to know. In my time at Georgia Southern there has been so many times where other students on Facebook would have postings that were outrageous. Not only do employers look at your pages on these social media sites but also your peers. I have unfollowed people on twitter because of some of the things the have said on there. Again great post and this is definitely a must read for anyone using social media sites.

  8. Be my guest: Lauren Hopkins « Weekly Dose of London Says:

    […] Be my guest: Lauren Hopkins As I explored more of some of my classmates blogs this week I cam across a blog that I feel is very important to anyone using social media sites. This blog post is by Lauren Hopkins titled Passing Employer’s “Background Check” […]

  9. Jessica Cameron Says:

    A person’s online presence is such a huge thing these days. Not only is important to have a strong presence online, but it also so important to make sure that presence is appropriate. So many people post inappropriate pictures or use inappropriate language on their Facebook and Twitter. I just don’t understand it. How can you not be thinking about what other people are seeing or what people might be watching you. Even though all my pictures are blocked, even though they aren’t inappropriate at all, I still get nervous when interviewing. I don’t want anything to offend anyone. It makes me nervous!!

  10. micaelacarter Says:

    Hey Lauren,
    After reading your post on companies monitoring social media, I found everything in it that you said to be very helpful. That could not be more perfect timing for your mom to find that, right before graduation..and for all us PR students who are constantly using social media. I really enjoyed the tips that you gave about what to have and not to have on your facebook profile. But one thing I learned last week at a Career Services event on Interviewing Skills, is that it is considered an “illegal” question if they ask you to log onto your profile during the interview because it cuts into your personal life and they cant ask about your personal life.

  11. Blog Comments « Micaela Starr Carter Says:

    […] […]

  12. katiann4710 Says:

    We have all heard it, but does it really sink in? I have asked myself this. I have a facebook account, and love it! I’m on it constantly and could possibly be called a “fb addict.” 🙂 I love social networking. Its important though, as you mentioned in this post to keep in mind all of the eyes that will be looking at your profile. Even if you have privacy settings on your networking sites, it seems to me that if once on the internet, always on the internet. People must be careful, becaue one little thing could truly cost them their reputation or represent their character in a false way. I sometimes even question things that others have written on my facebook wall that I had no control over, and wonder if the wrong person might see something at the wrong time. The market is just too competitive right now for something so small and insignificant such as a facebook photo or comment to keep you from landing a job. Better safe than sorry!
    -Kati Ann

  13. How to Backbround Check Someone Says:

    Let us be honest, we all are curious from time to time about the legal background of our company associates, buddies, acquaintances and even loved ones. Whether this search is for individual use or for company functions, one can find all the necessary information about a specific person. This process entails looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records of an individual. On-line background checks are becoming popular due to their availability on the Web and their accessibility to public records.

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