What Your Potential Employer Can Find Out About You!

Believe it or not, prospective or potential employer (s)  have access to more information online than you expect and many will “Check You Out” before you’re even offered a job.

So, it looks like the work you put into your application is paying off? The recruiter has shortlisted your application, and you’ve already got interviews scheduled and a site visit is lined up. There may be a few dark spots in your past or you might have an extensive online footprint, but you are not the kind of person who worries. There’s no way your prospective employer could find out about them and, anyway, the company could care less. Right?

Ooops, sorry to tell you, but you are wrong.

I have provided below just a few of the many things that your potential new employer may want to know about you and, in fact, can easily find out about you with just a few mouse clicks. In some instances, the hiring manager is legally required to ask for your consent, but from a practical perspective, refusing to grant permission is equal to withdrawing your job offer. In most of the other scenarios, the hiring professional has no legal obligation to ask your permission or even to tell you what he / she is looking for when they can call around or simply go online to “Check You Out”. What’s worse, you may have no way to verify or challenge what the business has found out about you.

Are you prepared to travel for work, relocate, or work overtime?

Your prospective employer has every right to ask you whether you are willing to work longer hours, and travel to perform an assignment, or move to another job location. Overtime is generally not optional, so long as it is properly compensated. The company may not hire you if it thinks you have no motivation to work overtime or will become bitter about the extra hours. An employer will similarly withdraw a job offer if it decides that you aren’t up for attending monthly meetings at head office or will refuse a transfer to another office.

Your last salary information

Your future employer can ask you about your salary history, including your current salary. The company can even ask you for proof of your current salary if it seems unusually high. If you weren’t asked about your salary history on the initial job application forms, don’t assume it’s off the table. It could very well come up during one of your job interviews. So, if you want the job, don’t go overboard with silly salary requests.

Professional license violations or accusations

Many professional jobs, such as accountants, lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, other medical practitioners, securities traders, and financial advisers are licensed by regulatory agencies. These agencies keep records of all disciplinary proceedings, whether they result in fines, warnings, suspensions, or no punitive action at all. The mere fact that you were accused of wrongdoing will be on the public record. Enough said.

Have you been fired

Legal or not, this is another question that can come up in your job application or your job interview. If you’re not directly asked whether you were fired, you don’t have to say so. If you are directly asked, you’ll need to acknowledge the fact and put it in the best possible light. In any case, it’s a bad idea to deny that you were fired. Your employer may simply find out from checking you out online via LinkedIn chats or with a swift call to your former manager.

Driving convictions

Convictions for DUI are a public record, whether you like it or not. Your potential employer can find out about them through low cost online search services that compile records of such violations. These driving convictions are considered crimes and not merely minor traffic violations and so they will show up if your employer conducts a background criminal investigation.

Every employer deals with this in their own way. Some will allow one or more convictions before disqualification. Still others may consider your age at the time of the violation. There is no time limit beyond which a conviction is considered irrelevant or erased from your record.

Feedback from former managers

Just relying on your references is not enough. There is no law that prohibits an employer from asking your former managers what they thought of your work, even if you did not list them as references. Also remember, it is 2016 and many professionals simply ask their peers in the industry via social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, GitHub or other sites what they know about your work. They may choose not to talk to the people you’ve listed as references since they’re likely to be friends who may not a good source of unbiased information. True to my old motto: It’s not who you know, it who wants to know you.

Your social media posts

Your potential new manager cannot ask you for your passwords to social media sites. But the recruiters or HR guys can easily find anything you’ve posted, or, for that matter, anything that others have posted about you that is viewable by the public. Nothing stops the recruiters from asking Dr Google or from looking at websites or social media that you may have no control over. There is no time limit on what is viewable and that includes your dating profiles and even your most recent Facebook or Twitter rants. So, I strongly suggest that you always ensure to clean up your online act. We can help you with that if you are concerned.

Personal or other bankruptcy declarations

Just as any judgments for unpaid rent appear on your credit report, so would a declaration of bankruptcy. A prospective employer cannot hold the fact of bankruptcy against you. Nor can the company legally consider any bad debts that were discharged as a result of your bankruptcy. However, it can consider any defaults, judgments, or late payments in your credit report that were not discharged as a result of your bankruptcy.

Going forward

Before you apply for another job, make sure that you’ve carefully reviewed everything that is knowable about you. If there are any problems you can’t fix, you’ll need to do some cleaning up (we can help you with that) and you need to be prepared with a succinct, factual explanation that you can immediately offer if the questions pop up.

It’s that simple – no more surprises. Do your homework and don’t stress about your past if your present is back in order. Be true. You are worth what you negotiate, just remember to hunt wisely!