You must have understood how it works by now. Someone posts something offensive, usually to a small circle of like-minded people. No one outside of said circle notices it at the time, because the initial speaker is relatively insignificant. Once loaded with a new job, affiliation, or role, the post is exposed and quickly deleted in the eyes of anyone who cares. Post, forget, dig up, and repeat.
The “problematic” opinions shared on social networks are legion. Before the European elections last May, the new Change UK party (or whatever its current name is) had to ask its candidates for the European Parliament Joseph Russo and Ali Sajed to step down. It turned out that both had tweeted jokes that could be interpreted as sexist, racist and xenophobic. Their posts , like countless others, had eluded potential employers.
According to Heidi Allen, then acting head of Change UK, the inability to spot Russo’s and Sajed’s comments was due to the “lack of professionalism” of an independent investigative firm. She told The House magazine: “We paid professionals to do background checks on candidates for us, knowing full well that a quick Google search wouldn’t be enough. We are going to have to have a discussion with them because clearly they haven’t done their job. However, who are these companies that monitor what we post online and act as de facto arbiters of taste and propriety? How do they give their customers what they want? Does it affect employees and their rights?
For starters, companies face legal issues when trying to spy on a potential new employee’s social media. I meet Peter Church, a lawyer who is interested in the fuzzy space where technology interacts with law. “There are relatively strict rules in EU data protection law and GDPR, including how companies should approach you with information. But they are difficult to control in practice,” he explains.
As a potential employee, chances are you will be screened at the final stage of the recruitment process. “If you receive a hundred CVs for the same position, you are not going to submit all the candidates to verification on social networks, only those who are about to be hired. »
David D’Souza, director of the human resource management trade association CIPD, explains that screening service providers are responsible for determining, based on a person’s profile and online activity, whether they are triggers or risks that the employer should be aware of. However, are the triggers and risks universal? People search can sometimes say horrible things on the internet. Should we treat them the same as the person who writes on Twitter that they smoke weed in the evening at home?
Everything depends. Sterling Talent Solution writes on its site, without specifying what it means by “poor ethics” a person who shares inappropriate images and whose ethics leave something to be desired is not a good candidate. Similarly, grammatically incorrect content is a red flag”. CBS screening writes that it’s “verification of social media accounts is not done without the candidate’s permission and only looks at job-relevant content. Meanwhile, the Security Watchdog Company, a Capita service provider, analyzes the profiles of a candidate according to all the elements, which are “likely to have an impact on customer relations” or “related to lobbies or militant groups.
Here, artificial intelligence only does part of the job because, as Lager points out, humans are better at detecting an offensive post. “There is slang, different languages, cultures and sub-cultures and most importantly, intent and context. It’s super complex. Put simply, SI is only looking for the serious stuff, about “content that could blatantly or obviously be harmful or risky to an organization and its current employees.
What is the background check?
Background checks allow the sports organization to ensure that the applications it receives, particularly for positions as employees, coaches or volunteers, meet the main requirements to participate in sports activities. Comprehensive job descriptions, visible policies and processes, criminal background checks, interviews and reference checks are some tools sport organizations can use; all have the same importance. Agencies are encouraged to determine a candidate’s level of risk and to define and document how they will screen candidates.
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