Google yourself. No, really; do it. Apparently the Federal Trade Commission gave the go-ahead for social stalking. Employers are now allowed and encouraged to do social media background checks. Those privacy settings you’ve been meaning to change? If I were you, I wouldn’t waste any more time.
A job screening agency, Social Intelligence, will now be archiving and saving all of our posts on social media sites for future background checks. Even an accidental drunken post that you delete the next morning will be saved in the archives for seven years. The screening corporation insists they need the information for backup in any legal situations that might arise. Newbies won’t be subjected to the same screening.
They won’t be cracking down on the “little” things, but that sarcastic comment you made about giving your co-worker a swirly could easily be misconstrued. The watch list includes racist statements, sexually explicit activity, violent and unlawful acts. A swirly threat could sound pretty violent if read in the wrong context.
However, employers themselves can not do the social stalking on their own and they must ask your permission. I imagine it goes something like this; “Would you mind if we creeped through all of your Facebook stuff?” If they perform the Google search themselves and you don’t get the job, the company can easily be accused of discriminating against the things they saw on the network.
Another way to keep yourself business-friendly is to create a “Fan Page” for yourself. People can “like” the page and offer professional comments without throwing you under the bus. Cover your tracks, and make that “Arson” photo album private, for cripes’ sake. Future employers will not be impressed and maybe even a little frightened. Keep your “real life” Facebook page completely private and hidden in the shadows. Also, make sure you aren’t tagged by any of your friends by mistake. If you’re nervous, just grab a pair of these shades, censor yourself, and no one will ever know it’s you.