Who’s watching you and what are you revealing?
It’s not news, but worth repeating, that recruiters and network contacts are increasingly searching the internet for information on people they with whom they might be doing business.
What are you revealing about yourself? Have you done a search that includes your name and other key words a recruiter with your CV has?
Ethics be damned, companies/people will do it. The issue is what can they see and what is the potential impact? A company may see a drinking/clubbing/party-going man or woman as active, enjoying life, and fun; another may see a feckless person with no obvious ‘serious’ interests. So, we are possibly at the mercy of people’s personal filters. Of course, a good HR professional will use the information to see if the person might be a good team-fit; but I’m wishing to bet there’s a few too many that are not so enlightened.
It’s terrible if a recruiter/contact declines because of a comment you have made on Facebook/YouTube/Twitter etc, where you might feel you have privacy of thought, but if it’s searchable then it may be seen and have a negative impact.
I often rally against religion and may well lose offers from deeply religious or otherwise sensitive people if they bothered to search my various posts across news and other sites. However, my posts are, I feel, balanced and respectful (as much as one can be when challenging deeply held beliefs). Others may see the posts and like the fact I can be persuasive and hold my own in a debate.
Science Daily have a nice article with some scientific studies, and useful links to earlier articles in the sidebar.
What can you do? Well, I assume on your “business” network, like here on LinkedIn, you ensure you keep a professional tone. For your “Social” media sites, you can and should check the privacy settings that exist and disable the ability for people not in your “social” network from searching and viewing your “social” content.
I don’t want to post links, as there are too many, but any search for “Security settings [Social Media Name]” will give not only the page from the social media site, but also other sites offering often more detailed or simpler to follow information.
Remember, the default for many sites is fully visible as it helps them promote their site which is usually offered free to use, so they are justified in doing so. They almost always, however, offer you ways to keep your information away from the “public” domain and it is your responsibility to secure your profile as much as it to secure your car or other worldly possessions.
Be seen, but be careful.