DIGITAL EVIDENCE AND HIRING PRACTICES

#PredictiveAnalytics #SocialMedia #jobs
We all know the job-search routine: find a job you might want, send a resume, fill out an application, sit for an interview and, assuming you decide the job is for you, get hired.
But with the advent of social media, employers not only have ways to find out things about you, they can do social media profiles, so-called predictive analytics, on you to determine whether you have the characteristics they want.
Rodd Wagner, best-selling author and confidential adviser to senior business and government leaders, discussed this in a Jan. 21, 2016, column in USA Today. Wagner’s most recent book is titled, “Widgets: The 12 New Rules for Managing Your Employees As If They’re Real People.”
Wagner’s book title is ominous, though most of us have probably had jobs in which the boss may not have looked at us as “people.” We were more like “assets,” or “human resources.”
Few people realize how much digital evidence they leave in their wake, Wagner writes. A person’s profile of the “Big Five” personality traits – openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism – can be discovered through a person’s Facebook posts and likes, and machine coding of what the person has written online, Wagner writes.
We’ve all heard creepy stories of prospective employers demanding to know one’s Facebook password, so he can delve more deeply into one’s personality. We’ve also heard stories of schoolteachers and other public figures being fired for posting a picture of himself or herself enjoying a harmless glass of wine.
Many of us don’t think that what we do online is in the public domain. We may think that only our “friends” see it. Now, Wagner asserts, an online profile of you can be created through patterns of activities on social media and elsewhere in the digital world.
Is this fair? Fairness doesn’t matter. Employers will do whatever is legal and possible to find out everything they can about you, especially if they are hiring you for a big-time or sensitive job.
Wagner writes that this process is messy. Poor decisions will be made because of that evidence. There will be abuses. There will be lawsuits, either because the computer picked someone else for a promotion, or, if predictive analysis proves far superior than human judgment, because a company relied solely on people rather than machines to make its decision.
Messiness also produces backlash, Wagner writes. There will be legislation and court rulings to redefine worker privacy and managerial discretion in the predictive analytics world. The goal is to ensure that science serves employees with a better job fit and opportunities, as much as it serves the business, Wagner writes.
The moral here is to be careful on social media. Watch out for political discussions, controversial posts etc. Read them if you must, but react to them publicly at your peril, if you ever intend to look for a job. “Like” a cute picture, but be wary of “liking” a controversial drawing or cartoon.
Most of all, take care in what you write. You can be yourself, and still be somewhat unassuming. Be careful in complaining about someone, or something. Make sure your posts are as positive as they can be.
Of course, if you’d like not to have to worry about predictive analytics, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. You’ll find a way to save money, make money and avoid confrontation with a prospective employer.
Your online activity can say lots about you, whether it’s correct or not. You may have a hard time correcting incorrect perceptions should you have to confront predictive analytics.
Peter

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