The Dark Side of Background Screening

One of the joys of attending a conference such as the recent SHRM Talent & Staffing Management conference in San Diego, is that you learn so much. New innovative thoughts – Grand expanded ideas – New Announcements – and my personal favorite – New companies. That is what happened at this conference, I had a chance to speak to David Nadell of the Social Intelligence. This new company indicates that with using Social Media channels for hiring is putting the employer at huge risks in discrimination, …. but what made my mind whirl is the thought of what kind of stuff you going to find out about this candidate if you dig just a little deeper? Dig into the web of social media and their fan pages, personal pages, chat rooms, networking accounts and so much more. How thorough are the screening companies when it comes to positions that really are about a persons’ character as much as their experience.

Recently, HRExaminer’s John Sumser published a report not only on Social Intelligence but about this whole scary Dark-side of background checks. He states “…disconfirming evidence in a variety of ways. They screen pictures, evaluate various alternative resumes, monitor chat rooms and dig deeply into those thousand of islands of social media.”

Yikes – this is a scary thing to consider, but when you are in the financial services, Health services, educational services – wow, we better be sure that the candidate’s life is as clean and pristine as they say it is. Unfortunately, now that there is social media, there is a way to dig even deeper, setting up a Consumer Reporting Agency to cover so many of these “if’s, and’s and but’s” so that an employers can be confident that they have truly served their consumers with due diligence and respect.

Recently, I stumbled on another new company that will help to eliminate this on the consumer side – Reputation Defender; The online reputation management leader. It is all about image control. However, does this help those people that are trying hard to hide what their true life is all about – sheesh, just makes me think again “The Dark Side”.

BUT I have the answer for everyone, that would unfortunately put both of these companies out of business – 1/ be a good citizen 2/ have a good conscience 3/ believe that anything you do selfishly, will effect someone negatively 4/ remember those values and morals hopefully taught to you in your youth 5/ stay on the clean side of the law 6/ only do things that will make your mother proud.

Since I don’t have much faith that this will truly happen, both of the companies will be kept very busy for a very long time.

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