12% of Facebook Walls Have Derogatory Language That Could Prevent Employment

Today’s NY Times has an article about Social Intelligence, a year-old start-up that scrapes the Internet to provide employers with background checks on everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years.  We have written about Social Intelligence in the past but what is particularly noteworthy about today’s article is the list of “negative information” Social Intelligence collects that could prevent a job candidate from getting an offer:

  • Online evidence of racist remarks
  • References to drugs
  • Sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos
  • Flagrant displays of weapons or bombs
  • Clearly identifiable violent activity
After seeing this list, we analyzed the profiles of around 20,000 Facebook users to see how many of them have derogatory/racist language on their Wall.  Here is what we found:
  • 12% of users have derogatory language on their Wall.
  • The number rises to 17% for users under 35 years old.
  • The number falls to 5% for users over 35 years old.
  • Of those users who have derogatory language on their Wall, 38% have used such language themselves.
  • Of those users who have derogatory language on their Wall, 81% have such language posted by a friend.

So what does this all mean?  As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job candidates by checking out social networking sites.  A recent survey by Jobvite indicated that 45% of hiring managers always search for candidate profiles.  Some employers are doing the screening themselves and others are using services like Social Intelligence.  This trend places the burden on individuals to monitor their online presence more closely, as inappropriate content on social networking sites, like Facebook, could damage their reputation and limit their chances of getting a job.

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8 Responses to 12% of Facebook Walls Have Derogatory Language That Could Prevent Employment

  1. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job […]

  2. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job […]

  3. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job […]

  4. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening […]

  5. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have pronounced in a past, some-more and some-more employers are […]

  6. Jodi Park says:

    Remember back in school when an authority figure used the phrase “This is going to go on your permanent record” was something we laughed about as we got older? Well, it’s not so funny now.

    This growing practice is worrisome for a number of reasons. One may be passionate about issues such as politics or civil rights for special populations, which in no way hinder their ability to be a productive employee. If one cannot have discussions among friends on FaceBook without worrying that potentially hot button debates on various PERSONAL OPINIONS (they are not supposed to be seen by people that they haven’t “friended”, so why complete strangers, including potential employers) will be used to judge their character years later.

    A background check of one’s educational and employment history, criminal background checks and pre-employment drug testing are quite enough upon which to judge applicants for most jobs. Checking their credit history, organizational affiliations or online chats is a VERY slippery slope.

    Much of what these “social intelligence” searches turn up may be taken out of context and not even represent the person that wrote them years ago. People and their life situations change; they become Christians, join an online group for families experiencing domestic violence, have a medical emergency that buries them in debt or simply “grow up.” Who is ANYONE to judge someone they do not know by snippets gleaned from one’s years-old online participation?!?

    Furthermore, all it takes to ruin one’s online reputation is a single individual with an ax to grind who publishes negative, biased or defamatory information. C’mon potential employers and “social intelligence professionals”: you know that an article with a salacious headline will draw you in before the individual’s community service and employment accolades every time.

    Currently, potential employers have enough applicants that they don’t have/need to take the time to look at the copious information that may indicate that this person is a pillar of their community with a much more impressive resume and philanthropic history than the next person in the resume stack.

    Employers: you are MISSING OUT on some incredible talent when you delve too deeply into the crevasses of one’s past and accept that if something is written on the Internet, it “must be true.”

  7. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job […]

  8. […] Reppler’s own blog says: So what does this all mean? As we have said in the past, more and more employers are screening job […]

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