Internet firm digs up dirt on potential employees
Social Intelligence uses deep web searches to background check possible recruits for hiring companies
An internet start-up called Social Intelligence gathers together everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years, in a dossier for prospective employers.
The company, founded by software entrepreneurs Max Drucker and Geoff Andrews is designed to help HR make better hiring decisions, using a combination of automated and manual review processes, according to the website.
The dossier compiled by Social Intelligence can contain examples of professional honours and charitable work, along with negative information such as online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity, according to the Social Intelligence website.
Any US federal and state protected information is removed from the reports sent to employers, only exposing them information that is job relevant and may be legally used and considered in the hiring process.
Drucker told The New York Times in an interview that one prospective employee was found using Craigslist to look for OxyContin, another woman found posing naked in photos she put up on an image-sharing site online did not get the job offer she was seeking at a hospital, while other background reports have turned up examples of people making anti-Semitic comments and racist remarks.
Drucker told the paper that the reports generated by Social Intelligence remove references to a person's religion, race, marital status, disability and other information protected under US federal employment laws.
Under one third of the information found on the internet comes from social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, much of the negative, or positive, information about job candidates comes from deep web searches which hunt for comments on blogs and posts on smaller social sites, like Tumblr, as well as Yahoo user groups, e-commerce sites, bulletin boards and even Craigslist.
These searches also include photos and videos that people post on Facebook and YouTube and other sharing sites like Flickr, Picasa, Yfrog and Photobucket.
The company runs a new report for every job applicant each time they are background checked and all potential employees must also consent to the background check before it can be carried out.
Prospective employers can also define what information they are interested in in an interviewee's history, whether good or bad.