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Social Networking Sites Getting Risky For Recruiting

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the no-clue-what-you-did-last-summer dept.

Social Networks 227

onehitwonder writes "While many recruiters and HR managers are taking advantage of the Web and online social networks to screen candidates for positions inside their organizations, a bank in Texas has decided that using social networking websites in its recruiting process is too risky legally. Amegy Bank of Texas now prohibits internal HR staff and external recruiters from using social networking sites in its hiring process. Amegy's decision to ban the use of social networking sites in its hiring process demonstrates its respect for prospective employees' privacy. It also sends a message to the employers and recruiters using social networks to snoop into job seekers' personal lives that their actions border on discrimination and could get them in a lot of legal trouble."

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Makes sense (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754145)

Some people put a lot of info on their social networking sites. Some of it is information that is protected under discrimination laws. Now even if your HR people are squeaky clean about it and ignore all that, the problem could be proving it. You check up on someone's page and find out that they do something you don't like, and that you can discriminate on. However also on that page it lets you know they are Mormon. You don't hire them, they sue you for religious discrimination because your organization has a bunch of Catholics at the top.

Well the lawsuit is now a problem. They'll claim you found out they were Mormon and that's the reason you won't hire them. You claim it is for another reason, maybe something they've now removed from their page. Well it's now "He said, she said." Maybe the jury doesn't buy that the other thing was what you cared about and all of a sudden you owe a bunch of money.

Re:Makes sense (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754151)

If this [youtube.com] isn't proof that welfare is a bad idea, then I don't know what is. Filthy negro beasts are too stupid to feed their kids when Popeye's is closed.

Re:Makes sense (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754347)

Another white boy in denial of his fondness for the black mamba...

Re:Makes sense (1, Interesting)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754467)

Course the question is how would the theoretical Mormon prove to the courts that religious discrimination happened? If I understand U.S. hiring laws one could simply state they didn't hire someone just because they didn't like that person. If said Mormon sued, couldn't the company state "we didn't think he/she was a good fit for our company," or "while the credentials were impressive we didn't feel he/she was a good team player compared to the other applicants," or any other cheap excuse and get off scot free?

Re:Makes sense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754577)

If said Mormon sued, couldn't the company state "we didn't think he/she was a good fit for our company," or "while the credentials were impressive we didn't feel he/she was a good team player compared to the other applicants," or any other cheap excuse and get off scot free?

Not exactly. They could say it, but they'd have to actually prove that the other applicant was markedly "better" - or have a *very* good explanation for what it means to not be a "good fit".

Employment law and lawsuits are tipped pretty heavily in favor of the employees.

Re:Makes sense (2, Interesting)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754945)

The US also uses a jury system, and in cases of discrimination it is not unheard of to use circumstancial evidence to rile up a jury and get a conviction. If your company actively uses a social networking site which has this kind of information, it might not be difficult to paint it as "poor innocent standing up to big evil discriminatory corporation" and, with cases based largely on circumstantial evidence, that can be a death sentance.

Re:Makes sense (5, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754497)

So the lesson is to place a bunch of semi-contradictory potentially offensive material:
  • President PETA, local chapter
  • Loves Veal, Foie Gras, Soy, and Bean Sprout breakfast hash
  • Devout Catholic
  • Pro-Choice
  • Hermaphrodite
  • Straight
  • Regularly correspond with RIAA
  • Contributed to FSF
  • Libertarian
  • Yoga instructor
  • President of Gun Club, local chapter
  • etc

Re:Makes sense (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754553)

Yeah! Then you can claim that you were discriminated on your schizophrenia!

Re:Makes sense (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754987)

Don't you mean multiple personality disorder? Its completely different from schizophrenia.

Re:Makes sense (5, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755225)

It really depends on if the voices in your head tell you to do things, or if they just get off their lazy asses, take over and do it themselves!

I find your post more offensive than funny. (0, Troll)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754985)

  • And I am a big fan of South Park.

Re:Makes sense (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754545)

However also on that page it lets you know they are Mormon. You don't hire them, they sue you for religious discrimination because your organization has a bunch of Catholics at the top.

Usually, to win that kind of lawsuit, you have to prove at least one of two things:
1. You were discriminated against &/or
2. There exists a pattern of discrimination

So unless the company comes out and says "we saw [X] on [social networking site] and that's why you are not getting hired," a lawsuit has almost no chance.
/And trying to prove a pattern of discrimination is a long and expensive process.

Re:Makes sense (1)

rite_m (787216) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754603)

I hope they don't count linkedin as one of these social networking sites. Hiring through linkedin should not be a source of lawsuits since linkedin is a professional social networking site and personal info is hardly ever present there.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754909)

They'll claim you found out they were Mormon and that's the reason you won't hire them.

So how exactly does the online profile change this? There's nothing to stop a Mormon without an online profile from filing the same suit. In either case, it has to be proven that his being a Mormon was not a factor in deciding not to hire him (or whatever the discrimination laws require). Just because you throw a computer or the Internet into the mix doesn't mean the existing laws don't apply.

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754959)

Coincidentally, I just attended a CLE that touched upon this issue today. The recommendation was that if you use any data miners to go out and look for damning information on social networking sites, they should be people who are well versed in the prohibited bases for not hiring people. Additionally, these people should NOT be the hiring decision makers. Essentially, these people would forward legally appropriate information to the decision makers who would then use the sanitized information in the hiring process (i.e. quotes about how the candidate financed his BMW from his current employer's cash reserves).

Re:Makes sense (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755237)

But in the real world, there's nothing stopping the hiring manager from checking the prospect out, and no way to prove s/he did. The only thing left for the hiring manager who sees something s/he didn't like that might be legally problematic is to concoct legitimate sounding reasons for denying an interview or hire. Easily done.

Re:Makes sense (2, Funny)

tukang (1209392) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755037)

Well the lawsuit is now a problem. They'll claim you found out they were Mormon and that's the reason you won't hire them. You claim it is for another reason, maybe something they've now removed from their page. Well it's now "He said, she said." Maybe the jury doesn't buy that the other thing was what you cared about and all of a sudden you owe a bunch of money.

BRAD What do you want?

LESTER One year's salary, with benefits.

BRAD That's not going to happen.

LESTER Well, what do you say I throw in a little sexual harassment charge to boot?

Brad LAUGHS.

BRAD Against who?

LESTER Against you.

Brad stops laughing.

LESTER (cont'd) Can you prove you didn't offer to save my job if I'd let you blow me?

Brad leans back in his chair, studying Lester.

BRAD Man. You are one twisted fuck.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755257)

I figured that when social networking came out they would most likely fire people over retarded things like drinking off the clock not at work and you are a teacher is b.s. I took the time to make sure my name isn't referenced anywhere on the said sites

"A bank in Texas" (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754161)

by Texas law unless I am mistaken, is a single branch and an entire company.

Maybe they have changed the laws since I was last there, but "a bank in Texas" might be roughly analogous, capital-wise, to a manufacturing plant in my local area. So one bank in Texas setting a policy is hardly big news.

Re:"A bank in Texas" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754471)

Just like a retailer is a single branch and also an entire company?

Apparently some words can refer to both corporations and also a specific branch, that's a funny language that ya'll got over in Texas.

Re:"A bank in Texas" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754531)

Well, no. Unless they have changed the law (it has been a while), then there are no branch banks in Texas. Each individual location is a bank unto itself. A separate company from every other bank in the state.

Re:"A bank in Texas" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754543)

The chain of banks is based out of Texas, thus a Texas bank.

Re:"A bank in Texas" (4, Informative)

RichDiesal (655968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754765)

This is where RTFA comes in handy. The first paragraph of TFA:

You won't find Amegy Bank of Texas CEO Paul B. Murphy Jr. uploading new profile pictures onto Facebook or linking Twitter feeds to a MySpace page. Murphy, who heads the 87-branch, Houston-based bank, isn't personally involved in the brave new world of social networking Web sites, but he certainly knows what they are. And thanks to his lawyer, his bank is successfully navigating the legal land mines they can contain.

Re:"A bank in Texas" (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754799)

Well, I did read it, but I missed that part. So Texas has done away with that law after all. Not a terribly great surprise, since it has been a number of years, and I think they were the only state in the union that had that law.

Social networking sites should file suits (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754185)

It is REALLY hard to prove discrimination as it is. When it is discovered, it should then be actionable in some way. As it stands, there is probably nothing in the law books that would stand against it, but social networking sites could potentially show damages because of their use being discouraged.

Personally? I don't appear on any social networking sites... other than this one. If you really want to know who I am, you gotta know who I am and then read all my comments. But there are no pictures and so to confirm my identity would not be a simple matter for most.

(Please, this is not a challenge...)

Re:Social networking sites should file suits (2, Funny)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754261)

It is REALLY hard to prove discrimination as it is. When it is discovered, it should then be actionable in some way. As it stands, there is probably nothing in the law books that would stand against it, but social networking sites could potentially show damages because of their use being discouraged.

Personally? I don't appear on any social networking sites... other than this one. If you really want to know who I am, you gotta know who I am and then read all my comments. But there are no pictures and so to confirm my identity would not be a simple matter for most.

(Please, this is not a challenge...)

Of course it is not a challenge. Everyone here is a twitter sockpuppet.

Re:Social networking sites should file suits (3, Insightful)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754841)

A growing issue in involuntary participation in social networking. Even if you'd like to stay off "the facebook" seeing it as nothing but trouble, your friends/colleagues can still post tagged pictures of you, notes about your participation in social activities, and whatever else they feel like doing. At this point it might be a good idea to get in if only to monitor your status and let your side of the story be known, lest your activist HR department decides to judge your entire value system based on a picture at a political event you just went to for the grub.

Re:Social networking sites should file suits (2, Insightful)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755271)

"At this point it might be a good idea to get in if only to monitor your status and let your side of the story be known"

and with that, the facebook takes its next victim.

well played facebook. You almost have to admire the cunning.

They can say they will ban it (4, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754191)

But just like discrimination against age, disability, religion and race they just have to pay lip service and any employer can discriminate all they like.

As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (5, Interesting)

flyboy974 (624054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754209)

I think that HR departments try to prove that they need to exist some times. They are there to try to tell you why you should NOT hire somebody. A pure "cover-your-ass" department.
The reality is that I am a high school drop-out, and I am a Chief Technology Officer. I didn't get there by starting a company, I was recruited by the company itself. I have 15+ years of experience (my first "contract" position was when I was 15). Oh, and I'm 32 years old now.

I once was given a job offer and then they rescinded it because I did not have a high school diploma. Were they wrong? You decide. I am where I am because I have the skills, experience and am damn good at my job.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754229)

Were they wrong? You decide.

Probably not. You sound like an asshole. ;-)

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754393)

Sometimes an asshole is the right guy for the job.. if its a job in HR, for example.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (1, Insightful)

aeoo (568706) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754473)

Why does he sound like an asshole? I don't get that impression.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754735)

Well, there's careful mention of his exact accomplishments and the age at which he made them, calling a whole group of people he I guess manages useless, and the in-your-face rhetorical questioning about whether he is really as awesome as he says he is. I'd find it insufferable.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754819)

careful mention of his exact accomplishments and the age at which he made them

Ha! By that metric Steve Jobs, Hans Reiser, and Stephen Wolfram are all assholes.. oh, I see now, never mind.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754873)

Actually, I was just kidding, but now that you mention it, he does sound like kind of an asshole.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754275)

Unless you clearly explained all the above to the company in question, then I can see how a quick decision like that would be made: I'm sure they get tons of crazy people who think they are king because they tossed together a VB GUI to track IPs.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (5, Insightful)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754313)

I can't tell if the purpose of this post was to brag about yourself or hate on human resources. Either way it's pointless.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (2, Insightful)

aeoo (568706) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754489)

What if you believe that human resources is a useless department, and you want to explain why so. How do you go about doing it?

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (3, Funny)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754459)

I am where I am because I have the skills, experience and am damn good at my job.

...says the son of the CEO.

Meanwhile, I am so good at my job because I'm a time-traveler from the 37th century...

I once was given a job offer and then they rescinded it because I did not have a high school diploma.

Yeah, McDonalds can be like that...

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755267)

Meanwhile, I am so good at my job because I'm a time-traveler from the 37th century...

Improbable. Star Trek allows us to conclude that humans will start becoming logical, rational individuals within the next few hundred years. By the 37th century we will be accustomed to making sense at all times, and doing The Right Thing.

You just try getting anywhere with that attitude in today's corporate world!

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755335)

Star Trek allows us to conclude that humans will start becoming logical, rational individuals within the next few hundred years.

You _do_ realize the trek universe is a brainwashed, communist society controlled by the military, right?

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (3, Informative)

hannson (1369413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754581)

I think that HR departments try to prove that they need to exist some times.

My sister works at a bank which has a HR department. When her baby was due and she had to take parental leave she was called to a meeting with HR. Her manager had previously asked her to work longer and take shorter leave. Scared that they'd find some reason to fire her she offered to work longer and drop in every now and then after the baby was born to take some of the workload of her co-workers. HR did not accept this proposal and insisted that she would take her paid leave and come back to work when she'd be ready.

Moral of the story; HRs' sole purpose is not hiring but keeping good staff members happy and in the company and more importantly protect the staff from management abuse.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (5, Insightful)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754769)

That is not the purpose of HR. HR's job is to protect the company from lawsuits.

The reason your sisters HR department went to the trouble of making sure she took her leave, is because if she had been cheated out of even one day of it, the company would have been in violation of federal law, and liable for a nice fat payday.

9 out 10 HR departments don't give a care about the actual employee, they care about liability and employment laws. Ultimately, their goal is not in line with the greater goals of the company, which is why you need HR departments, to protect companies from themselves.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (1)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754669)

Yup. HR is afraid of being replaced by technology, so they make a wide-sweeping mindless policy to address some hypothetical problem that will likely never come up. I have worked at some companies with great HR departments (they don't have too much power) but at a couple where HR is run by mindless drones that have way more authority than they should. They make themselves look useful by inventing stupid policies that do nothing but make the company less competitive and a more miserable place to work.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755089)

You sound like an asshole.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755151)

I feel your pain, but is it that hard to read a few books and get your GED so you don't have to have that conversation? What if the company goes under? You may have a heck of a time getting a new position where they don't know you as well. Even if it doesn't happen today, how many companies do you know that will hire a 42 year old high school drop out?

Not trying to be a jerk here; just commenting on what I see.

Re:As a hiring manager, I really hate HR! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755297)

The book "rise of the airheads" has a chapter dedicated to HR departments. You should all read it.

Just because they say they don't (4, Insightful)

Yold (473518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754231)

Doesn't mean they won't. I know a couple managers, and frankly you are sticking your neck out if you make a couple of bad hires. What is to stop someone from snooping on your myspace/facebook (other than privacy settings) from their own home.

It all comes down to what has been said before, if you don't want the world to know, don't put it on the internet. Its the reason why I discontinued facebook, because quite frankly, I find it rather advantageous to be mysterious ( especially with women ;) ).

Re:Just because they say they don't (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754349)

But that is exactly the problem with HR that everybody else here is talking about. That is the same tired old "cover your own ass" attitude.

While it certainly might be a good idea to see whether a prospective employee is a two-time felon, for example, I do not know of anyone outside HR departments -- not a single person -- who really thinks it is your job to track down and report on whoever said "fuck" on the internet, or told the occasional off-color joke, or has a different political opinion.

When my father was an employer, not so many years ago, HE might have judged you on how friendly you are over a beer after 5:00, or for that matter whether you knew any good off-color jokes.

Things have changed a lot, and not always for the better. My advice for HR departments: lighten up, or eventually there will be a rebound effect, and you will be lightened up. Your paychecks, anyway.

Re:Just because they say they don't (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754441)

What is to stop someone from snooping on your myspace/facebook (other than privacy settings) from their own home.

HR people working at home? It's a pretty rare event to see them working in a workplace unless a boss has been standing behind them for more than a minute.
Taking away an excuse for them to spend their entire day on Facebook is a good thing and IMHO it was a pretty stupid way to exclude potential employees anyway. Just as well stories like this give me an excuse to spend my entire day on slashdot :)

Re:Just because they say they don't (0, Redundant)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755077)

It all comes down to what has been said before, if you don't want the world to know, don't put it on the internet.

A naive way of thinking. Gary goes to a gay pride event. He's gay, but closeted and living in hisksville, usa. He's got interviews coming up but he knows he has no online presence so things should be fine. Lisa, ever the shutterbug, is also at the event and takes photos of the day and puts them on her blog. She writes about she made a new friend Gary. A few weeks later, Gary interviews at Acme, Inc. The interviewer scans the web and finds Lisa's blog about Gary. Subsequently, Gary doesn't get the job despite having perfect qualifications. Apparently the interviewer is a mormon with an ax to grind.

Moral of the story: you have no control what people post about you on the web.

Google your future employees (3, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754233)

Anyone who has ever hired someone has googled him/her. It's almost inevitable not to land on a person's social networking page, if this person uses her own name online. It will be very hard to totally ignore the information you found there. Even if you don't intend to you will unconciously or conciously use it during the job interview.

Re:Google your future employees (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754385)

If you "unconsciously" use it during the job interview, you are failing at your own job. If you consciously use it during the job interview, you may not be doing your job properly... depending on the circumstances.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754731)

Ya know what.. bullshit.

Google for someone you know is on Facebook.. using the name they use on Facebook. Watch as the results don't come back with their Facebook page.

Experimenting instead of just assuming, welcome to science.

Re:Google your future employees (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754837)

I don't understand anything of what you are trying to say here, and how it relates to my post.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754891)

Well, to be honest, I had to cleanup this sentence:

It's almost inevitable not to land on a person's social networking page, if this person uses her own name online.

I assumed you meant that it was inevitable that googling someone's name would land on their social networking page. Which is actually the opposite of what you said, but it doesn't make any sense for you to have been saying that :)

But yes, pick 10 random people on Facebook and google their names.. you will discover that maybe 10% of them result in hits to Facebook. Google simply doesn't rate Facebook very high in search results.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754917)

You are totally right. Sorry about the mistake.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754937)

Are you kidding? Pretty much anybody I google these days has their facebook page as the first hit, if they have one. Now granted, most of those people don't have a Nobel Prize to their name, won an Olympic medal in a decathlon, shot up a school or got their name into the intarwebs in a similar manner.

But for Janet Sixpack and Vassily Wessel, facebook and linkedin are top of the page hits.

Re:Google your future employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755061)

Google my first and last name, you won't find me. You'll find somebody else's facebook, with a picture that isn't me. Google with my middle name as well?

You get some database scraping sites that tells you where I graduated from high school.

WOW!

Yeah, useless, I wouldn't bother with it.

Re:Google your future employees (2, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755311)

Google my first, middle and last name, you will find a guy who is not me, has my name, the same type of degree (better school though!), engaged to a woman with a name very similar to my wife's.

I'm not sure I would trust this Google hypothesis.

Re:Google your future employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755203)

Mod parent up. I have a facebook, and recently received an invite to a group named "[My full name]'s of the world." There are 30 of us in the group, all with the same first and last name. Two of whom actually live in the same city as I do, and another 3 live in the same general Urban Area. Looking me up? Good luck with that, even if you have my address.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

zifr (1467429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754941)

So anyone who has hired is googling their employees? What company do you work for so I can suggest people do not apply? I don't google my people.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755291)

Why is it bad to google people? Privacy arguments do not apply here. If people want privacy they shouldn't put their info on the 'net.

Re:Google your future employees (1)

zifr (1467429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755329)

We all to some extent have information on the net. Your argument is not special or new. By googling your candidates you are screwing yourself more than your potential candidates. You are showing your weakness as an interviewer by handicapping your judgement with preconceived notions based on how you interpret some ASCII and some picture. Congrats. Would suck to lose a potentially great employee because they went to a party you didn't agree with.

Not surprising (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754245)

Everyone's afraid of doing anything that could land a potential lawsuit. We're getting to the point where you won't even be able to give a reference because of how it might be interpreted. People put up that info by choice, don't like that your future company might look at it, too bad, take it down or deal.

Re:Not surprising (2, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754403)

A lot of companies have not given out references, for many years now. For exactly that reason. You are WAY behind the curve...

Though personally, I think that is selfish and self-righteous bullshit.

Re:Not surprising (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754449)

Actually funny story, I got laid off from a company, used them as a reference, and they said bad things about me. Never had the energy to do anything other than not use that one guy as a reference again.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754507)

It is actionable if you could show that they said bad things about you that were not true. But that last part is important.

Long ago, I quit a company because I found out that they were (really and provably) stealing money from me. They were very lucky I did not turn them over to the State and the Feds, because I had all the evidence I needed. (They were playing with both benefits and 401k, which meant they were committing State and Federal offenses.)

When I had trouble finding another job, I naturally wondered why. I had somebody call them and say they were looking for a reference. The caller was told "We cannot in good faith give a reference for this person at this time."

They were not saying anything BAD about me, per se... but it had the same effect. I stopped listing them as a reference. Even thought I got most of my money back eventually, I really should have turned them in.

Re:Not surprising (1)

mc1138 (718275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754539)

Yeah that was my problem, it wasn't that they were outright lying about me, just pointing out one or two issues I had when I first started, even though I had since turned them around. Either way, I showed them and got a better job anyway. Ended up being glad they let me go, as it turns out the bosses new motto there is "If you don't produce, I'll cut you loose." Seriously, what a joke.

Re:Not surprising (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755141)

We're getting to the point where you won't even be able to give a reference because of how it might be interpreted.

This is already the case. Most corporate HR departments will only confirm someone worked there.

priacy? (1)

zhouray (985297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754273)

If a person decided to allow anyone to see his/her profile, what is there to respect?

Re:priacy? (2, Funny)

Aerynvala (1109505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754365)

Well, clearly, not the rules of spelling. :)

Re:priacy? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754457)

No, it's spelled correctly. Priacy (as in where people pri into your personal life)is the opposite of privacy.

All kidding aside, networking sites aren't all bad. LinkedIn [linkedin.com] , for example, would be a good place to check a prospective employee's online presence without having to witness the passing out by the toilet after the bong hits.

Re:priacy? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754381)

Because it is one of those things that they believe they shouldn't be judged on. While most people are fine telling others what their religion is, most would be appalled if they couldn't get a job because of it. For example, this is the digital equivlent of this conversation:

Boss: What is your religion?
Guy: Well, I'm Catholic
Boss: Well, we only hire Protestants here, so you don't get the job.

In the case the guy was perfectly fine telling others what his religion was unless it would be used to judge him. Social networking is a lot like that, people don't really care that you know that they went to such and such party unless it would be used to judge them. And its becoming increasingly common and most people don't think that it is right.

Not that complicated of a solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754343)

1)Google yourself, find which results you can control, and get those to the top of google.

2)When your employer googles you, he sees what you want him to.

3)???

4)PROFIT!

innovation is always at the edge of acceptability (1)

anomalous cohort (704239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754397)

Most innovations typically play along the periphery of what is permitted because the norm is, by definition, in the middle. By its very nature, social networking runs contrary to U.S. constitutional rights to privacy [blogspot.com] . That doesn't stop facebook's popularity but I guess that it could cause any large corporation's legal department to blow a gasket. As a participant in an enterprise offering in social networking [dynamicalsoftware.com] , I've run in to the opposite end of this spectrum. Companies don't want to reveal their internal problems yet risk doing so as they start searching around in social networks not directly under their control.

Re:innovation is always at the edge of acceptabili (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754437)

Social networking does not run "contrary to U.S. constitutional rights to privacy." If you post something on a billboard, you waive your right to privacy regarding that material. You can't have it both ways.

Re:innovation is always at the edge of acceptabili (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754533)

Sure, but a Facebook profile, in the eyes of the masses isn't a billboard. Most people view it as a place for friends and family, similar to a house. Looking at someone's Facebook profile is (in the minds of many) equivalent to watching you in your house and listening to your conversations while you are eating dinner. Or following you and your friends to the bar and making a discussion to hire you or not based on that conversation with your friends. It is the opinion of many (including myself) that you are hired to do a certain job for certain hours (such as 9-5), by the time 5:15 rolls around, the company should have no real control or concern for you, save that you return back at 9 the next morning to do your job. Can't do the job? Then fire them. Can do the job well? Hire and keep them. This is taking micromanagement to a new level in my opinion, and while, yes, anyone can read your Facebook, that does not mean you should (or should legally be able to) make decisions on hiring/firing people based on it without prior consent (such as someone saying check Facebook for a list of projects I worked on).

Re:innovation is always at the edge of acceptabili (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754641)

It doesn't matter in the least how you look at it or how it is "perceived by the masses". The ONLY thing that matters, legally, is how public it is.

My point was that anybody can look at a billboard. You could paint something on a billboard and consider it somewhat private, but the reality is that it isn't private... it is publicly visible. Your "looking at it" as private is nothing but a delusion on your part... a belief or feeling that runs contrary to reality.

On many social networking sites, you can control who can see what information. And if you made that information visible to the public, then the law is very clear that you are just plain SOL. And that is reasonable! Your really can't have it both ways! If you post something in a place that is visible to the public, it is completely unreasonable to blame the public for looking at it!

And it is also unreasonable to look at it as though someone were "following you around", because they are probably looking at it from their own livingroom! How is that "following you"?

I agree that an employer should not be concerned with what you do on your own time... as long as you are not bad-mouthing them in public, or otherwise harming their public reputation. Then they might have a legitimate concern.

"... that does not mean you should (or should legally be able to) make decisions on hiring/firing people based on it without prior consent (such as someone saying check Facebook for a list of projects I worked on)."

The problem there is that you quite literally cannot have that both ways! Public information is public information. It is not permissible in the United States to tell someone "this information is public, but you, and you, and most especially you cannot look at it or think about it or use it." That's just not the way Freedom of Speech works, man!

Legal Issues both ways (2, Interesting)

wasted (94866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754745)

Looking at someone's Facebook profile is (in the minds of many) equivalent to watching you in your house and listening to your conversations while you are eating dinner. Or following you and your friends to the bar and making a discussion to hire you or not based on that conversation with your friends. It is the opinion of many (including myself) that you are hired to do a certain job for certain hours (such as 9-5), by the time 5:15 rolls around, the company should have no real control or concern for you, save that you return back at 9 the next morning to do your job. Can't do the job? Then fire them. Can do the job well? Hire and keep them.

First, I am not a lawyer. That said, I could see instances where it could hurt a company NOT to check social networking sites. If a prospective employee's profile indicates a tendency toward racial or sexual discrimination, for instance, and the person was hired in a supervisory position, then acted in a discriminatory manner, those discriminated against may be able to argue in court that the company was lax in its hiring practices, which would make it responsible for the discrimination due to its lack of research.

I believe that a company shouldn't be using non-job-related items for its hiring decisions. On the other hand, if information that disqualifies a candidate for that job is public, I believe that it is the company's duty to use that information.

I could be legally wrong, and I welcome corrections from those more acquainted with the law.

That's why you make your facebook... (5, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754421)

...the most ridiculously amazing profile ever:

Hobbies and Interests:

- working hard every day
- always obeying superiors
- working overtime for standard pay

Favorite Movies:
Favorite Books:
Favorite Music:

- none I'm always working

- - -

Things NOT to include:

Hobbies and Interests:

- feeding my cocaine addiction
- leather and bondage fetish
- reading slashdot

- - -

My Facebook profile makes me look extremely plain. It is the bare essentials. A personal email contact, my high school and undergraduate information, and a list of some very safe hobbies like 'sports' or 'cooking'. It took me forever to untag all those pictures of me naked on acid.

Re:That's why you make your facebook... (4, Funny)

glowworm (880177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754501)

Hobbies and Interests:

- feeding my cocaine addiction - leather and bondage fetish - reading slashdot

Congratulations, you have the job, can you wear this collar and gimp mask and head on down to the broom closet, ummm, computer room. I will be down to join you momentarily.

Re:That's why you make your facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755031)

- leather and bondage fetish

if you have a problem with this, guess what, you're illegally discriminating.. it's NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

So take some persnal responsibility... (4, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754461)

and protect your own privacy. I have a Facebook account and use it regularly. But only my friends and family can see ANYTHING at all. If you search for me on Facebook, you get nothing. I invite you, not the other way around.

Now, LinkedIn is a different matter. I leave that public, as I use that for work networking.

Honestly, this reminds me of the days when we were starting to realize we couldn't actually just throw our email addresses out there willy-nilly.

Re:So take some persnal responsibility... (2, Funny)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754707)

What is this personal responsibility thing you speak of? I was told I should demand the government solve all problems for me.

Re:So take some persnal responsibility... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27754801)

You voted for Bob Barr, didn't you!

Re:So take some persnal responsibility... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755227)

( taking my own personal responsibility here by posting 'anonymously' )

When a friend tags you in a photo of theirs that you, yourself, would not have published - what then?

"I remove the tag, facebook lets me do that"

and this solves the 6 hour gap in which you were sleeping and it was left tagged, how?

( not sure if the following is possible, but just for sake of argument.. )
"I'm just instructing facebook to not allow people to tag photos with my name"

and this stops people from adding comments with your name in it, how?

"I just ask the person to remove the comment"

and this again solves the gap between them posting it, your asking it, and them actually removing it (presuming they oblige), how?

You don't even need to have facebook for this to be a problem.

Yeah, it's great if you can limit the information about yourself in terms of what you post, yourself.

But those who scour social networking sites and hit google aren't going to limit their information intake on what -you- posted yourself. They'll want to know what others think of you. That YOU think you're the most awesome CTO in the world is irrelevant, especially if a 'friend' of yours mentions that you and him had a great time last tuesdaynight doing bodyshots off of a stripper.
( and, again, those firms will typically find much more benign things enough reason to put a negative mark on you )

On the flip side, you can't stay -off- the radar either... 'cos then the firms have -nothing- to go on and will simply assume the worst.

Thanks for the paternalistic analysis. (1)

ipX (197591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754499)

Amegy's decision... sends a message to the employers and recruiters using social networks to snoop into job seekers' personal lives that their actions border on discrimination and could get them in a lot of legal trouble.

Kevin Colvin [gawker.com] .

Where does this impulse to sue come from? (1)

nigel999 (883244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754523)

Perhaps I'm being naive, but why would anyone sue a company for not hiring them? Company A interviews 20 people for position B, happens to look at prospect C's Facebook profile in the process, doesn't like what they see and go for candidate D. They tell everyone but D "Sorry, we found someone else". That's just how it goes. What basis does C have to sue them?

Re:Where does this impulse to sue come from? (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754607)

Because on Facebook, there are a multitude of ways that they can discriminate against you. Your religion, political beliefs, age, marital status, sexual preference, all are on someone's Facebook profile. Whenever someone looks at one on the basis of deciding whether or not to hire you, its easy to convince a courtroom that you were discriminated against. And it doesn't really help that these are poor economic times where a job is quite important to have and hard to come by.

I've been happy with Amegy a long time (1)

zifr (1467429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754913)

State wide bank as far as I know. Always treated myself and company with respect. Glad to hear they have made this decision. Been with them since they started small as Southwest Bank of Texas. If I'm not mistaken, they are the largest independent in Texas.

Change your settings (4, Informative)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754939)

On facebook you can limit your information to only be accessible to friends, friends of friends or your network. It's quite granular, if your information is accessible by people you don't want it to be then that's your fault for not using the privacy settings that facebook provides.

Re:Change your settings (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755231)

The company can just get some alum of your university if you have it open to your network. Not hard.

This works both ways (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754955)

If I post "I smoke pot every day, unless I know I'm facing a drug test" on my Facebook page - the same facebook page I put my resume on - it could get you into trouble if you hire me.

Let's say you do the urine test thing and hire me as a taxi driver. The next time I have a wreck while high you'll lose for failing to do "due diligence" in the hiring process.

Probably the best thing for employers to do is do contract out the job on a "red light/green light" basis, and have the hired guns look only for material that would actually cause legal harm to the employer, not material that is merely against the values of the company or which expresses a political opinion.

S/N ratio==too much junk... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#27754961)

I set up several different 'profiles' on-line linked by e-mail addresses on different sites. Depending on the job applied for, that e-mail address and subsequent 'profile' is what I use.

Search for my slashdot UID anywhere, and all you find are this specific user ID's slashdot posts.
It does not connect to 'me' directly, easily, or obviously. I'm sure it could be done given enough motivation, but realistically, 'why bother' for someone like me?

who uses those services anyway? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755001)

I certainly do not have an account on any of the social networking sites. If I want to network socially, I'll go outside.

Though I'm glad a company is showing some common sense where privacy is regarded. If your new hire likes to listen to fall out boy and talk about her belly button piercing, that's none of her employers business.

Discrimination isn't always bad (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27755119)

Here's a scenario:
Say I apply for a job by sending in my resume. Prominently featured in 48pt font just above my name are the words, "I'm Mormon and Proud of It!" Let's say, hypothetically, that I don't get the job. Is the company liable for discriminating against me because they are in possession of knowledge of the fact that I am a Mormon and subsequently didn't hire me? Of course not.

This is just an employer being overly cautious because it doesn't think that the information about potential employees that can be gleaned from Facebook is all that valuable. And maybe it's not. If an applicant is an obvious douchebag on Facebook, he's probably a douchebag during an interview as well.

Besides all that, "discrimination" isn't an across-the-board no-no. Only certain things are illegal if used to discriminate in hiring. Like race, age, national origin, sex, etc. Discriminating against a person (i.e. not hiring him or her) for being a moron, possessing an unimpressive resume, or publicly displaying yourself as a drunkard on social networking sites is EXACTLY the kind of discrimination in which hiring companies SHOULD be engaging.

HR paranoia (1)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#27755309)

Amegy's decision to ban the use of social networking sites in its hiring process demonstrates its respect for prospective employees' privacy.

No, it demonstrates typical HR paranoid fear of lawyers and a complete lack of understanding that there is more to a potential employee that a school diploma. I would consider it irresponsible not to google a potential candidate. You have to research your spending decisions, and hiring someone is a big ticket item.

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