Sunday, June 11, 2006

Myspace, recruiters and bogus entries

The NYT has an article on recruiters who use MySpace to investigate applicants.

Most employers will probably want to avoid people who post aboust their fondness for blowing things up or shooting heroin.

What the article does not consider is wether the entry is genuine. I don't have a myspace entry, or at least I didn't until I created one a few hours ago for the Later Lord Byron. I changed the age a bit and left out the bit about his fondness for incest but even so is this the type of guy you want to hire?

You could do a real number on someone, post about their time spent in Pakistan as a Jihaddi or their spot of drug tourism in Nepal. The scope for inaccuracy here is much greater than with consumer credit reports which are abysmal.

When I was at Southampton the Conservative group used to boast about a blacklist they circulated to employers detailing alleged 'radicals'. The list was carefully maintained on paper to avoid regulation by the data protection act. When the list was finaly revealled it turned out that the students were more interested in listing members of rival tory factions than lefties. A similar effect was observed in the files of the East German STASI which had the same approach to personal freedom.

While this probably made the list more accurate than if they had been following the intended instructions it does demonstrate the problem. Reputation sources that lack accountability are inevitably inaccurate and unreliable.

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