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Posted: 12:17 p.m. Monday, Aug. 4, 2014

Could You Pass A Social Media Background Check?

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


We all know that employers like to pull the credit of job applicants, check references and maybe even run a criminal background check or a personality test. But did you know some employers are vetting job candidates based on their social media profile?

New guidelines for passing the social media sniff test

From time to time, you'll hear a story about a teacher losing his or her job because there's a picture on Facebook of them partying with a beer or what have you. Some employers have even been known to ask employees for their Facebook logins!

Then recently, I was talking with a human resources person and they anecdotally told me somebody did not get a job because of an indiscretion they had posted on their Facebook page. What they posted was evidence of a typical thing that somebody out partying on a Saturday night might do.

But here's the deal: In the past, those memories of youthful indiscretions would blur in a hurry. Your friends wouldn't rat you out. Unfortunately, though, we rat ourselves out by what we post.

If you have teens or college kids or you are one, hear this and act on it now. Don't hear me now and believe me later. I don't want you to learn this in the school of hard knocks when you are Tweeting, Facebooking, Google Plus-ing or whatever the next hot thing is.

Pictures and posts can hurt you. If your parents hear this and you hear this, don't do the eye roll when they talk to you about it. Listen to me on this!

Many people under age 30 are not making it to the interview phase at jobs because employers of all sizes are checking you out on the web, according to The Washington Post.

In fact, the problem has gotten so bad that there are now companies that will scrub your digital footprint for you. They typically start at a whopping $1,000 a month to scrub your digital reputation! It's like getting a tattoo removed -- painful and expensive.

This is a case where prevention is the best cure. Think before you post. Facebook recently adjusted its privacy policies to make sure you're better informed about how your posts are being shared.

Finally, here's a great piece of advice: If there's something about you that is troubling on the Internet, don't search for it again and again. If you search for something about yourself, it will push it higher up as Google and the other search engines  start to think that info about you is particularly important. So if there's trouble out there, don't go searching for it online repeatedly!