Social Media Becoming Part of Background Checks

How well do you manage your reputation online? Everyone who has used the internet at some point has posted an inappropriate comment or a tweet to blow off steam from a bad day in 140 characters or less. But, could this information hurt you in the long? Tweens and teens, for example, are advised to stop behavior like sexting, but adults need to keep similar points in mind, too, as such online behavior may show up on a background check.

According to a recent article internet habits, particularly what is produced through social media, has become part of background checks for employment and obtaining a loan. Services like Rapleaf mentioned in the article compile various aspects of your online habits through social media: Facebook status updates, tweets, sites you added through links, groups/organizations you join, and comments you post. The result from this background check-like service is a graph of your online behavior and habits. From a marketing perspective, websites like Facebook can gear ads and services to your likes and dislikes. From a more invasive perspective, however, companies can examine this information to learn more about your behavior – including who you’re connected to. Like the example given in the article, those who you’re connected with on sites like Twitter and Facebook could be an indicator of your personal behavior and habits.

Is this accurate and fair? Not entirely. But, the internet, however, isn’t private and anyone planning to start an account on a social networking site needs to be aware of the risks. Consider what you post in status updates – not only the content but the links, as well. Also consider who you add as friends and which groups you join. Employers may do a Google search when considering you as a job candidate, and here are some other aspects to expect in a pre-employment background check, including the examination of your online presence.