Human resource professionals and hiring managers have developed a better way to gain insight into new hire’s backgrounds: information posted in social networking sites. About two years ago, I was often asked whether it was legal to google a job applicant, or to review his or her information posted on the Internet. While some lawyers took the conservative approach to this “new technology”, it has become common practice to search applicant’s backgrounds on the Internet (see this post about Court’s ruling that MySpace postings are not private). I’ve even made the case before that failure to do a simple Internet check could create liability for a company if the result could have easily informed the company that the applicant had a bad history.
However, there are two basic problems now: (1) there are too many sites to search, and (2) if someone has a common name it is impossible to narrow the search to that particular person.
Spokeo.com is a new company that basically makes these on-line background checks easier. Guy Kawasaki points out that this service can be very beneficial to an HR manager who is tasked with checking out applicants’ backgrounds by searching social networking sites. The key break through for the website is that it searches for an individual’s email address. This makes it very helpful to find particular information about an applicant that has a common name.
What is the cost?
It is $2.95 per month for one year, or $4.95 per month for three months. This seems well worth the cost to save hours searching social networking sites.
To try the service, click here.