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Social Networks The Internet

Social Networking Sites Getting Risky For Recruiting 227

Posted by kdawson
from the no-clue-what-you-did-last-summer dept.
onehitwonder writes "While many recruiters and HR managers are taking advantage of the Web and online social networks to screen candidates for positions inside their organizations, a bank in Texas has decided that using social networking websites in its recruiting process is too risky legally. Amegy Bank of Texas now prohibits internal HR staff and external recruiters from using social networking sites in its hiring process. Amegy's decision to ban the use of social networking sites in its hiring process demonstrates its respect for prospective employees' privacy. It also sends a message to the employers and recruiters using social networks to snoop into job seekers' personal lives that their actions border on discrimination and could get them in a lot of legal trouble."
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Social Networking Sites Getting Risky For Recruiting

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  • Makes sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:33PM (#27754145)

    Some people put a lot of info on their social networking sites. Some of it is information that is protected under discrimination laws. Now even if your HR people are squeaky clean about it and ignore all that, the problem could be proving it. You check up on someone's page and find out that they do something you don't like, and that you can discriminate on. However also on that page it lets you know they are Mormon. You don't hire them, they sue you for religious discrimination because your organization has a bunch of Catholics at the top.

    Well the lawsuit is now a problem. They'll claim you found out they were Mormon and that's the reason you won't hire them. You claim it is for another reason, maybe something they've now removed from their page. Well it's now "He said, she said." Maybe the jury doesn't buy that the other thing was what you cared about and all of a sudden you owe a bunch of money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by trytoguess (875793)
      Course the question is how would the theoretical Mormon prove to the courts that religious discrimination happened? If I understand U.S. hiring laws one could simply state they didn't hire someone just because they didn't like that person. If said Mormon sued, couldn't the company state "we didn't think he/she was a good fit for our company," or "while the credentials were impressive we didn't feel he/she was a good team player compared to the other applicants," or any other cheap excuse and get off scot fr
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

        The US also uses a jury system, and in cases of discrimination it is not unheard of to use circumstancial evidence to rile up a jury and get a conviction. If your company actively uses a social networking site which has this kind of information, it might not be difficult to paint it as "poor innocent standing up to big evil discriminatory corporation" and, with cases based largely on circumstantial evidence, that can be a death sentance.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by billsnow (1334685)
        you never saw Philadelphia [imdb.com], did you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)

        because companies (big ones in particular) have to carefully craft standard forms and questions for HR purposes that their lawyers "guarantee" will follow all the applicable discrimination laws, in all the states. Sticking to the forms keeps the company out of dutch.

        Going "off-script" to Myspace is just begging for trouble because your company already made a policy about what items you were using for job determination. In short why are you snooping other than to verify the facts on the pre-approved forms t

    • by Culture20 (968837) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:14PM (#27754497)
      So the lesson is to place a bunch of semi-contradictory potentially offensive material:
      • President PETA, local chapter
      • Loves Veal, Foie Gras, Soy, and Bean Sprout breakfast hash
      • Devout Catholic
      • Pro-Choice
      • Hermaphrodite
      • Straight
      • Regularly correspond with RIAA
      • Contributed to FSF
      • Libertarian
      • Yoga instructor
      • President of Gun Club, local chapter
      • etc
    • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:20PM (#27754545) Journal

      However also on that page it lets you know they are Mormon. You don't hire them, they sue you for religious discrimination because your organization has a bunch of Catholics at the top.

      Usually, to win that kind of lawsuit, you have to prove at least one of two things:
      1. You were discriminated against &/or
      2. There exists a pattern of discrimination

      So unless the company comes out and says "we saw [X] on [social networking site] and that's why you are not getting hired," a lawsuit has almost no chance.
      /And trying to prove a pattern of discrimination is a long and expensive process.

    • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Informative)

      by queequeg1 (180099) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @10:24PM (#27754959)

      Coincidentally, I just attended a CLE that touched upon this issue today. The recommendation was that if you use any data miners to go out and look for damning information on social networking sites, they should be people who are well versed in the prohibited bases for not hiring people. Additionally, these people should NOT be the hiring decision makers. Essentially, these people would forward legally appropriate information to the decision makers who would then use the sanitized information in the hiring process (i.e. quotes about how the candidate financed his BMW from his current employer's cash reserves).

      • by base3 (539820)
        But in the real world, there's nothing stopping the hiring manager from checking the prospect out, and no way to prove s/he did. The only thing left for the hiring manager who sees something s/he didn't like that might be legally problematic is to concoct legitimate sounding reasons for denying an interview or hire. Easily done.
        • Re:Makes sense (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Restil (31903) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @07:37AM (#27757879) Homepage

          I'm confused as to why anyone needs to provide ANY reason why someone didn't get hired. Getting fired is a separate issue. You need documentation to back up the decision, etc, etc. But hiring someone? Heck, just because you turn in an application and have an interview doesn't mean you've got the job, especially in this economy when there are 100 applicants applying for a single position. The chances are very good that you won't get it, even if they love you.

          -Restil

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            At least in the larger corporations I've worked in, you need to provide an assessment of the candidate to HR (not to the candidate). That assessment is filed, specifically to use in the case of an EOC complaint or lawsuit. Generally, if the assessment for a candidate that you didn't hire looks better than the one you do recommend for hire, HR may ask you to elaborate on the decision.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by vertinox (846076)

            I'm confused as to why anyone needs to provide ANY reason why someone didn't get hired.

            There are city, state, and federal laws that specifically say you cannot not hire someone based on certain reasons such as but not limited too race, religion, sex, age, and in some places credit history or prior contracts and so on.

            There is a slew of legislation [wikipedia.org] on this and varies from state to state.

            When you do not hire someone, in truth you have to have a valid reason or the person you didn't hire can sue you for violat

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by tukang (1209392)

      Well the lawsuit is now a problem. They'll claim you found out they were Mormon and that's the reason you won't hire them. You claim it is for another reason, maybe something they've now removed from their page. Well it's now "He said, she said." Maybe the jury doesn't buy that the other thing was what you cared about and all of a sudden you owe a bunch of money.

      BRAD What do you want?

      LESTER One year's salary, with benefits.

      BRAD That's not going to happen.

      LESTER Well, what do you say I throw in

  • "A bank in Texas" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:35PM (#27754161)
    by Texas law unless I am mistaken, is a single branch and an entire company.

    Maybe they have changed the laws since I was last there, but "a bank in Texas" might be roughly analogous, capital-wise, to a manufacturing plant in my local area. So one bank in Texas setting a policy is hardly big news.
    • Re:"A bank in Texas" (Score:4, Informative)

      by RichDiesal (655968) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:50PM (#27754765)

      This is where RTFA comes in handy. The first paragraph of TFA:

      You won't find Amegy Bank of Texas CEO Paul B. Murphy Jr. uploading new profile pictures onto Facebook or linking Twitter feeds to a MySpace page. Murphy, who heads the 87-branch, Houston-based bank, isn't personally involved in the brave new world of social networking Web sites, but he certainly knows what they are. And thanks to his lawyer, his bank is successfully navigating the legal land mines they can contain.

      • Well, I did read it, but I missed that part. So Texas has done away with that law after all. Not a terribly great surprise, since it has been a number of years, and I think they were the only state in the union that had that law.
    • So one bank in Texas setting a policy is hardly big news.

      In Texas!!?! A bank in Texas setting a sane, progressive policy like this is akin to a mosque declaring an equal rights policy in Saudi Arabia! This is up there with Gorbachev declaring perestroika!

  • by erroneus (253617) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:40PM (#27754185) Homepage

    It is REALLY hard to prove discrimination as it is. When it is discovered, it should then be actionable in some way. As it stands, there is probably nothing in the law books that would stand against it, but social networking sites could potentially show damages because of their use being discouraged.

    Personally? I don't appear on any social networking sites... other than this one. If you really want to know who I am, you gotta know who I am and then read all my comments. But there are no pictures and so to confirm my identity would not be a simple matter for most.

    (Please, this is not a challenge...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cp.tar (871488)

      It is REALLY hard to prove discrimination as it is. When it is discovered, it should then be actionable in some way. As it stands, there is probably nothing in the law books that would stand against it, but social networking sites could potentially show damages because of their use being discouraged.

      Personally? I don't appear on any social networking sites... other than this one. If you really want to know who I am, you gotta know who I am and then read all my comments. But there are no pictures and so to confirm my identity would not be a simple matter for most.

      (Please, this is not a challenge...)

      Of course it is not a challenge. Everyone here is a twitter sockpuppet.

    • by KibibyteBrain (1455987) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @10:02PM (#27754841)
      A growing issue in involuntary participation in social networking. Even if you'd like to stay off "the facebook" seeing it as nothing but trouble, your friends/colleagues can still post tagged pictures of you, notes about your participation in social activities, and whatever else they feel like doing. At this point it might be a good idea to get in if only to monitor your status and let your side of the story be known, lest your activist HR department decides to judge your entire value system based on a picture at a political event you just went to for the grub.
  • by Winckle (870180) <mark.winckle@co@uk> on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:40PM (#27754191) Homepage

    But just like discrimination against age, disability, religion and race they just have to pay lip service and any employer can discriminate all they like.

  • by flyboy974 (624054) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:42PM (#27754209)
    I think that HR departments try to prove that they need to exist some times. They are there to try to tell you why you should NOT hire somebody. A pure "cover-your-ass" department.
    The reality is that I am a high school drop-out, and I am a Chief Technology Officer. I didn't get there by starting a company, I was recruited by the company itself. I have 15+ years of experience (my first "contract" position was when I was 15). Oh, and I'm 32 years old now.

    I once was given a job offer and then they rescinded it because I did not have a high school diploma. Were they wrong? You decide. I am where I am because I have the skills, experience and am damn good at my job.

    • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:44PM (#27754229) Journal

      Were they wrong? You decide.

      Probably not. You sound like an asshole. ;-)

    • by basementman (1475159) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:52PM (#27754313) Homepage

      I can't tell if the purpose of this post was to brag about yourself or hate on human resources. Either way it's pointless.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aeoo (568706)

        What if you believe that human resources is a useless department, and you want to explain why so. How do you go about doing it?

      • by mgblst (80109)

        Ohh, the HR lovers are coming out in force today.

        Just kidding, I love HR, you go of and print up some more inspirational posters.

    • by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:10PM (#27754459) Journal

      I am where I am because I have the skills, experience and am damn good at my job.

      ...says the son of the CEO.

      Meanwhile, I am so good at my job because I'm a time-traveler from the 37th century...

      I once was given a job offer and then they rescinded it because I did not have a high school diploma.

      Yeah, McDonalds can be like that...

      • Meanwhile, I am so good at my job because I'm a time-traveler from the 37th century...

        Improbable. Star Trek allows us to conclude that humans will start becoming logical, rational individuals within the next few hundred years. By the 37th century we will be accustomed to making sense at all times, and doing The Right Thing.

        You just try getting anywhere with that attitude in today's corporate world!

        • by Chrisq (894406)

          By the 37th century we will be accustomed to making sense at all times, and doing The Right Thing.

          You just try getting anywhere with that attitude in today's corporate world!

          Well I guess a job in politics is out of the question then.

    • by hannson (1369413) <hannson@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:24PM (#27754581)

      I think that HR departments try to prove that they need to exist some times.

      My sister works at a bank which has a HR department. When her baby was due and she had to take parental leave she was called to a meeting with HR. Her manager had previously asked her to work longer and take shorter leave. Scared that they'd find some reason to fire her she offered to work longer and drop in every now and then after the baby was born to take some of the workload of her co-workers. HR did not accept this proposal and insisted that she would take her paid leave and come back to work when she'd be ready.

      Moral of the story; HRs' sole purpose is not hiring but keeping good staff members happy and in the company and more importantly protect the staff from management abuse.

      • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:51PM (#27754769)
        That is not the purpose of HR. HR's job is to protect the company from lawsuits.

        The reason your sisters HR department went to the trouble of making sure she took her leave, is because if she had been cheated out of even one day of it, the company would have been in violation of federal law, and liable for a nice fat payday.

        9 out 10 HR departments don't give a care about the actual employee, they care about liability and employment laws. Ultimately, their goal is not in line with the greater goals of the company, which is why you need HR departments, to protect companies from themselves.
      • by Chrisq (894406) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @02:18AM (#27756333)

        Our HR department is the opposite. We were recently given a list of questions we must ask everyone whenthey return from sick leave.

        Imagine how stupid I felt asking someone who returned after having a broken leg in a car accident which was the other driver's fault: "Do you think that this is likely to recur?", and with his leg in plaster "Have you any written evidence, such a s a medical certificate, showing that this was a genuine illness?".

        More to the point with the possibility of a flu pandemic people have to make every reasonable effort to come into work, and must declare that they did so on returning

        .

        There is an escalation process for repeat absences, whatever the reason and a bonus for not being sick in a year, so I am sure some people will think "hey this could be swine flu but if I don't try to get in I could end up in disciplinary. On the bright side if it is swine flu maybe someone in HR will catch it".

    • by pete6677 (681676)

      Yup. HR is afraid of being replaced by technology, so they make a wide-sweeping mindless policy to address some hypothetical problem that will likely never come up. I have worked at some companies with great HR departments (they don't have too much power) but at a couple where HR is run by mindless drones that have way more authority than they should. They make themselves look useful by inventing stupid policies that do nothing but make the company less competitive and a more miserable place to work.

    • I feel your pain, but is it that hard to read a few books and get your GED so you don't have to have that conversation? What if the company goes under? You may have a heck of a time getting a new position where they don't know you as well. Even if it doesn't happen today, how many companies do you know that will hire a 42 year old high school drop out?

      Not trying to be a jerk here; just commenting on what I see.
    • Without knowing what company you work for, even spelling out using capital letters, hearing that you are a Chief Technology Officer just isn't that impressive. Every startup and small business that comes along dishes out fancy titles to employees. It's often a way to make people feel good about not getting a decent raise. Unless you work for a Fortune 500 tech company, it's just not that meaningful. At the last company I worked for, the CTO reported to a VP, who reported to a President, who reported to the

  • by Yold (473518) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:44PM (#27754231)

    Doesn't mean they won't. I know a couple managers, and frankly you are sticking your neck out if you make a couple of bad hires. What is to stop someone from snooping on your myspace/facebook (other than privacy settings) from their own home.

    It all comes down to what has been said before, if you don't want the world to know, don't put it on the internet. Its the reason why I discontinued facebook, because quite frankly, I find it rather advantageous to be mysterious ( especially with women ;) ).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      But that is exactly the problem with HR that everybody else here is talking about. That is the same tired old "cover your own ass" attitude.

      While it certainly might be a good idea to see whether a prospective employee is a two-time felon, for example, I do not know of anyone outside HR departments -- not a single person -- who really thinks it is your job to track down and report on whoever said "fuck" on the internet, or told the occasional off-color joke, or has a different political opinion.

      When my
    • by dbIII (701233)

      What is to stop someone from snooping on your myspace/facebook (other than privacy settings) from their own home.

      HR people working at home? It's a pretty rare event to see them working in a workplace unless a boss has been standing behind them for more than a minute.
      Taking away an excuse for them to spend their entire day on Facebook is a good thing and IMHO it was a pretty stupid way to exclude potential employees anyway. Just as well stories like this give me an excuse to spend my entire day on slashdot

  • by tsa (15680) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @08:45PM (#27754233) Homepage

    Anyone who has ever hired someone has googled him/her. It's almost inevitable not to land on a person's social networking page, if this person uses her own name online. It will be very hard to totally ignore the information you found there. Even if you don't intend to you will unconciously or conciously use it during the job interview.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If you "unconsciously" use it during the job interview, you are failing at your own job. If you consciously use it during the job interview, you may not be doing your job properly... depending on the circumstances.
    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Ya know what.. bullshit.

      Google for someone you know is on Facebook.. using the name they use on Facebook. Watch as the results don't come back with their Facebook page.

      Experimenting instead of just assuming, welcome to science.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tsa (15680)

        I don't understand anything of what you are trying to say here, and how it relates to my post.

        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          Well, to be honest, I had to cleanup this sentence:

          It's almost inevitable not to land on a person's social networking page, if this person uses her own name online.

          I assumed you meant that it was inevitable that googling someone's name would land on their social networking page. Which is actually the opposite of what you said, but it doesn't make any sense for you to have been saying that :)

          But yes, pick 10 random people on Facebook and google their names.. you will discover that maybe 10% of them result in hits to Facebook. Google simply doesn't rate Facebook very high in search results.

      • Are you kidding? Pretty much anybody I google these days has their facebook page as the first hit, if they have one. Now granted, most of those people don't have a Nobel Prize to their name, won an Olympic medal in a decathlon, shot up a school or got their name into the intarwebs in a similar manner.

        But for Janet Sixpack and Vassily Wessel, facebook and linkedin are top of the page hits.

        • by jgtg32a (1173373)
          Dude my name is Mike Jones
  • Everyone's afraid of doing anything that could land a potential lawsuit. We're getting to the point where you won't even be able to give a reference because of how it might be interpreted. People put up that info by choice, don't like that your future company might look at it, too bad, take it down or deal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      A lot of companies have not given out references, for many years now. For exactly that reason. You are WAY behind the curve...

      Though personally, I think that is selfish and self-righteous bullshit.
      • by mc1138 (718275)
        Actually funny story, I got laid off from a company, used them as a reference, and they said bad things about me. Never had the energy to do anything other than not use that one guy as a reference again.
        • It is actionable if you could show that they said bad things about you that were not true. But that last part is important.

          Long ago, I quit a company because I found out that they were (really and provably) stealing money from me. They were very lucky I did not turn them over to the State and the Feds, because I had all the evidence I needed. (They were playing with both benefits and 401k, which meant they were committing State and Federal offenses.)

          When I had trouble finding another job, I naturally
          • by mc1138 (718275)
            Yeah that was my problem, it wasn't that they were outright lying about me, just pointing out one or two issues I had when I first started, even though I had since turned them around. Either way, I showed them and got a better job anyway. Ended up being glad they let me go, as it turns out the bosses new motto there is "If you don't produce, I'll cut you loose." Seriously, what a joke.
    • We're getting to the point where you won't even be able to give a reference because of how it might be interpreted.

      This is already the case. Most corporate HR departments will only confirm someone worked there.

  • Most innovations typically play along the periphery of what is permitted because the norm is, by definition, in the middle. By its very nature, social networking runs contrary to U.S. constitutional rights to privacy [blogspot.com]. That doesn't stop facebook's popularity but I guess that it could cause any large corporation's legal department to blow a gasket. As a participant in an enterprise offering in social networking [dynamicalsoftware.com], I've run in to the opposite end of this spectrum. Companies don't want to reveal their internal p

    • Social networking does not run "contrary to U.S. constitutional rights to privacy." If you post something on a billboard, you waive your right to privacy regarding that material. You can't have it both ways.
      • Sure, but a Facebook profile, in the eyes of the masses isn't a billboard. Most people view it as a place for friends and family, similar to a house. Looking at someone's Facebook profile is (in the minds of many) equivalent to watching you in your house and listening to your conversations while you are eating dinner. Or following you and your friends to the bar and making a discussion to hire you or not based on that conversation with your friends. It is the opinion of many (including myself) that you are
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          It doesn't matter in the least how you look at it or how it is "perceived by the masses". The ONLY thing that matters, legally, is how public it is.

          My point was that anybody can look at a billboard. You could paint something on a billboard and consider it somewhat private, but the reality is that it isn't private... it is publicly visible. Your "looking at it" as private is nothing but a delusion on your part... a belief or feeling that runs contrary to reality.

          On many social networking sites, you can
        • by wasted (94866)

          Looking at someone's Facebook profile is (in the minds of many) equivalent to watching you in your house and listening to your conversations while you are eating dinner. Or following you and your friends to the bar and making a discussion to hire you or not based on that conversation with your friends. It is the opinion of many (including myself) that you are hired to do a certain job for certain hours (such as 9-5), by the time 5:15 rolls around, the company should have no real control or concern for you,

  • by VinylRecords (1292374) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:05PM (#27754421)

    ...the most ridiculously amazing profile ever:

    Hobbies and Interests:

    - working hard every day
    - always obeying superiors
    - working overtime for standard pay

    Favorite Movies:
    Favorite Books:
    Favorite Music:

    - none I'm always working

    - - -

    Things NOT to include:

    Hobbies and Interests:

    - feeding my cocaine addiction
    - leather and bondage fetish
    - reading slashdot

    - - -

    My Facebook profile makes me look extremely plain. It is the bare essentials. A personal email contact, my high school and undergraduate information, and a list of some very safe hobbies like 'sports' or 'cooking'. It took me forever to untag all those pictures of me naked on acid.

    • by glowworm (880177) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:14PM (#27754501) Journal

      Hobbies and Interests:

      - feeding my cocaine addiction - leather and bondage fetish - reading slashdot

      Congratulations, you have the job, can you wear this collar and gimp mask and head on down to the broom closet, ummm, computer room. I will be down to join you momentarily.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ogive17 (691899)
      Yeah, I know what you mean about untagging photos.... I had to rush to untag a few from last Halloween. On a whim I put on an Obama mask to go along with my friend who put on a McCain mask. It's funny because I won $50 for "scariest costume".... We even sang "Proud to be an American" with someone dressed as Bin Laden. Then I borrowed the 10" dildo my friend had (he was John Bobbit) and put it in my pants and was walking around the bar as Obama with a big schlong sticking out of my pants... those pic
  • by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @09:10PM (#27754461)
    and protect your own privacy. I have a Facebook account and use it regularly. But only my friends and family can see ANYTHING at all. If you search for me on Facebook, you get nothing. I invite you, not the other way around.

    Now, LinkedIn is a different matter. I leave that public, as I use that for work networking.

    Honestly, this reminds me of the days when we were starting to realize we couldn't actually just throw our email addresses out there willy-nilly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pete6677 (681676)

      What is this personal responsibility thing you speak of? I was told I should demand the government solve all problems for me.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      This still won't protect you from

      1) An unfortunate homonymical situation where someone with your name makes you look bad
      2) Random assholes who use forged profiles to libel you and deny you a job

      Violation of privacy or not, I would consider online information to be of dubious value at any rate.

      Bein DA BOSS may mean your employee is helpless to stop you from googling him, however, no amount of authority will be able to authenticate your results.

      However, your prospective boss probably won't care, and is like

  • Change your settings (Score:5, Informative)

    by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday April 28, 2009 @10:21PM (#27754939) Journal

    On facebook you can limit your information to only be accessible to friends, friends of friends or your network. It's quite granular, if your information is accessible by people you don't want it to be then that's your fault for not using the privacy settings that facebook provides.

  • I set up several different 'profiles' on-line linked by e-mail addresses on different sites. Depending on the job applied for, that e-mail address and subsequent 'profile' is what I use.

    Search for my slashdot UID anywhere, and all you find are this specific user ID's slashdot posts.
    It does not connect to 'me' directly, easily, or obviously. I'm sure it could be done given enough motivation, but realistically, 'why bother' for someone like me?

  • I certainly do not have an account on any of the social networking sites. If I want to network socially, I'll go outside.

    Though I'm glad a company is showing some common sense where privacy is regarded. If your new hire likes to listen to fall out boy and talk about her belly button piercing, that's none of her employers business.

  • For some people, there is just as damaging information on Google. Anyone else remember Charles Booher? http://www.metroactive.com/papers/metro/01.26.05/booher-0504.html [metroactive.com]
  • Amegy's decision to ban the use of social networking sites in its hiring process demonstrates its respect for prospective employees' privacy.

    No, it demonstrates typical HR paranoid fear of lawyers and a complete lack of understanding that there is more to a potential employee that a school diploma. I would consider it irresponsible not to google a potential candidate. You have to research your spending decisions, and hiring someone is a big ticket item.

  • Amegy's decision to ban the use of social networking sites in its hiring process demonstrates its respect for prospective employees' privacy.

    Bullshit. If it's publicly posted, it's not private.

    It also sends a message to the employers and recruiters using social networks to snoop into job seekers' personal lives that their actions border on discrimination and could get them in a lot of legal trouble.

    Bullshit. If it's public, it's not snooping. (Or anywhere near discriminatory.)

  • Reference Checks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stmfreak (230369) <stmfreak@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @01:00AM (#27755921) Journal

    Sometimes social network sites are the most honest form of references you can find on an prospective candidate. And while some people express preferences or display aspects of their lives that put them in a protected class, one we're legal bound not to ask about, it is information that they choose to display in association with the name they use to seek employment. Personally, I try to ignore that stuff while I look for aspects of their life that may relate to their capability as an employee. If you are concerned that you might be denied employment because you <whatever>, use an alias.

    On the flip side, some candidates reveal things that make it very easy to weed them from the process for reasons that, legal or not, are in the best interest of the company and staff. The most recent in our case was a candidate that wrote us a particularly angry letter about our interview process. A quick google revealed him to be a stalker who kept a record of threats he made and threats he received through chronicle of his life. We also found a separate site devoted to his lawsuit against a former employer over some other stalking/harassment type issue. Rather than apologize and try to correct our process, we bid him farewell.

    Should we avoid learning all we can that is relevant to the job about someone we might consider hiring? Google provides levels of information previously only available through the use of a private eye and with the good comes the bad and unnecessary. So we have to ignore religion, age, race, gender, preferences, et cetera. But hiring managers have been doing that for years, this information often comes up or can be inferred during an interview.

    This policy seems like a Luddite decision. It would probably be better for HR to do the research and then filter out the protected information so the hiring manager doesn't get tainted. Then the hiring can be done irrespective of protected class status and yet with full awareness of the relevant data.

  • Universities also.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Warlord88 (1065794)
    One of my friends at Stanford told me to 'take care' of my social networking sites like orkut and facebook. According to him, many universities now google the graduate applicants and scan their social networking profiles. I don't like this one bit.

"There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet." -Ambrose Bierce

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