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Information Discrimination: A New Form of Stigma of 21st century?


Imagine this: You’re extrovert and outgoing, with lots of friends. You’re a recent graduate of a very prestigious university. You’ve recently applied for a vacant, high-salary position of a well-known company. The potential employer likes you, i.e. your CV and achievements. So, you’re about to be hired… But, wait! While you’re out for lunch (the employer tells you to come back around 1pm), he has decided to Google your name. And when you’re finally back, he says, “I’m sorry, but we can’t hire you.” And it’s all because of your MySpace profile photo, in which you’re wearing invisible clothes.

Though I only invented the scenario above, this is what one Reader’s Digest article sounded like to me. If you’re a subscriber of Asian Edition Reader’s Digest June Protected content , then you can turn on page 72, which contains the article “Click and Clean” by Andy Simmons. If not, you can simply go to their website:

Protected content

Then search the article “Click and Clean” or “Andy Simmons”. The article is very long, but I’ll include bits of it here.

I’m not sure, but to judge someone, not by what he/she could contribute to the company, but by his MySpace and Facebook profiles, is not clear to me. Since when did Google rule the sense of judgment of some employers described in the article? Don’t they take considerations or something?

Here are two real-life scenarios provided by Reader’s Digest (if there’s anyone here working for Reader’s Digest, as you may read, I’m not plagiarizing):

Brad Karsh, president of JobBound, an online employment company, found a young man who was perfect for an open position there. Before he made the offer, he checked out the prospect’s all-too-public Facebook page. The job seeker listed his No. 1 interest as “smoking blunts with the homies.”
“The guy was completely lacking in judgment and maturity,” says Karsh. “He was not ready for prime time. Especially since our company advises people on how to get jobs.”

Anyone applying for a job would be wise to review his or her online persona from an employer’s perspective. “I had a candidate who wrote on a religious blog things like ‘We’re right and they’re wrong and they’re all going to hell,” says Beshara*. He didn’t get the job, because the employer feared he’d spend his days preaching to coworkers.

And now, here’s the statistics (also from Reader’s Digest):

‘ DIGITAL DIRT: Hiring managers checked out the job candidates online and discovered these cyber-skeletons:

31% lied about qualifications.
24% were linked to criminal behaviour.
19% bad-mouthed their former company.
19% boasted about drinking and doing drugs.
15% shared confidential information from former employers.
11% posted provocative photographs.
8% used an unprofessional screen name.

Source: ’

I thought Internet is supposed to be a place where a person can vent out his feelings. Considering that I wrote an R-18 blog in Protected content (a site for text-based blogs. But for me, it’s the “underworld” of bloggers who don’t want to be identified. No one can identify anyone, unless you’re sisters or something), I don’t think I’ll delete it. Deleting it means I’m actually denying the “human” side of me. I believe that an employer should know I have these things: dreams, achievements and mistakes. In any case, I’m more approved of real background checking (i.e. hiring detectives, asking around) than online background checking.

In any case, Reader’s Digest also provided solutions and suggestions (just in case):

‘ Protect Your Virtual Résumé

Don’t post anything obnoxious, lewd or risqué, and don’t trash former employers.

Switch your Facebook or MySpace profile to “private”.

Edit what friends write on your “wall”. You’ll be held accountable for their idiocy.

Don’t write anything on someone else’s profile that can come back to haunt you.

Avoid crazy e-mail addresses. Brad Karsh from JobBound knows of people turned down for jobs because of e-mail addresses like spicychica2, thedirthead, and imsotired.

Google yourself regularly. Better yet, sign up for a Google Alert, which will tell you when your name is mentioned online.

Think of your profile as your public relations tool. Use it to present your accomplishments and creativity, not to settle scores and attack others. ’

P.S. I’ll also copy and paste this to the other sites that I have accounts. If there’s a chance that you encounter the same thread/blog, it’s me. Then, you can judge me by reading my other blogs located on that site.

P.S.S. This is different from “ghost” InterNations member. This is about people who apply personally, and managers check their online background by Googling their name.

*Tony Beshara, president of Babich and Associates, a job-placement firm in Dallas

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