Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Applicant Explorer

Thanks to Jobacle, I found out about a partnership between Bing, Microsoft's new search tool, and CareerBuilder, an online resume and job posting service, to offer Applicant Explorer.

Applicant Explorer will allow a resume database subscriber, an employer, to look at an applicant's digital footprint while examining their resume. It is meant as a tool to help decide if the applicant will fit into the corporate culture. According to the video that describes the service, Applicant Explorer will call up information from publicly available sites, including social networking, blogs, forums and other services that will give a "clear picture" of a candidate.

Alright, there are some problems with this, though a few can be overcome with a clear policy on how to run background checks. First, you can't run a background check on your favorite applicants--and just those applicants. Your background check may end up showing information that could be protected--like sexual orientation, race or a disability. The last two may be clearly visible in a profile picture, so if a candidate thinks that you have decided not to hire him or her based on the picture that you found. You have to check everybody--just like you would if you were conducting a real background check that had a policy behind it.

And just how do you know whose digital tracks you are following? Are we assuming, 1) that I gave up all my handles with my resume for the privilege of posting on CareerBuilder? (Ummm, go find Bozeman, MT and read what happened there.) And 2) if I don't give up my handles, and you just use my name, are you sure that is the real me you're reading about online?

Sometimes, I really wonder if people think this stuff through. What does sailing tell you about my "fit", if being nauti is not a bona fide job requirement?

Cross-posted on co-agitating.

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