Eight or nine years ago, when my dad managed a small branch of a hire car firm in Cyprus, he told me that they now did web-searches of any potential employees, as an extra screening process. It was a new but growing practice by employers at the time, but it’s become the norm now.
In education in 2013, where turning out employable graduates is a priority, it isn’t unusual to prompt an unsuspecting group of students to Google themselves, and watch the dawning horror on their faces as you explain to them how easy it is to find and identify them by their drunken photos and badly written, expletive and adolescence-fuelled digital shadow. Although the students have grown up with the internet, it’s hard not to notice that this is all still new territory, and few of us are entirely prepared for what the full implications and consequences of digitally “open” lives are.
In a market where thousands of people are applying for a steadily dwindling number of jobs, it’s not entirely surprising that employers are using the internet – and the by-default open nature of online life – as an Human Resources tool. And because that’s the way the world is now, we in education are absolutely right to warn students of online behaviours that may hamper their chance of getting very far in the working world.
The thing I’m wondering about today, though, is: Is it okay that employers do this? Read More