Employers Are Digging Up Even More Information on Potential Employees

Posted by

By now, it is common knowledge that any company who is seriously interested in hiring you will do a web search on you to get an idea about who you are both as a person and as an employee. What many people don't know is that companies also employ agencies to investigate prospective new hires more thoroughly by searching the “Deep Web”.

When I read about this in Fortune magazine, I was shocked. Although I was aware that there is more to the internet than you can reach with Google, I didn't know that there were companies who had mastered the techniques of sorting through all of that information. According to Fortune, techies have recently come up with some very sophisticated algorithms necessary for trolling it depths. The Deep Web is speculated to be more than 500 times the size of the Internet you can reach with a typical search engine.

These searches can find information that Google just can't get at. This includes Web pages that aren't linked to any other sites, password protected sites and more. In fact, they can even access web pages that have a no follow code to prevent them from being indexed by the Googlebot. This made me especially nervous, as I like to keep an online diary on a personal site that isn't indexed by GoogleBot and is behind password protection. Although my diary doesn't contain any damaging information, I certainly wouldn't want anyone to read it.

From the article:

"Amazon wish lists can crop up. So can your results from the last marathon you ran, and whose political campaign you've given money to, and whether your house is in foreclosure." Ever filed an application for a patent? Declared bankruptcy? Fallen behind on your child-support payments? Been investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission? A Google search probably won't reveal any of that, but a deep-Web search could.”

Hiring managers look for any instance where you may have flamed a blogger or other commenter on a blog post, reasoning that they don't want to hire anyone who can't disagree in a civil manner. They would look for any posts you made about an employer or co-worker. That they have access to this degree of information is frightening.

Employers are looking for such detailed information that they are even looking at your accounts on virtual worlds. It is hard to say why they need to know if you have ever prostituted your avatar on Second Life or what sort of ethics your WoW character has. In my case, perhaps they would be looking very hard at how my management skills and creativity are showcased by my Farmville account.

What I think is even more frightening is that employers run the risk of finding out answers to questions they aren't allowed to ask during an interview. And if they do find out this information, can they honestly say that they are still able to be objective? If they run across a post about a disabled child, or a cancer survival story, how are they going to be able to not take any of that into consideration? And even if they could, how would they prove it in court?

What do you think about this type of employee screening? Let me know in the comments.

Are you looking for a job in Manufacturing? Take a look at ManufacturingJobs.

By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer, along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch