This is an update of a previous blog, but I got such a visceral reaction recently to the Spokeo concept when presenting a SHEIFGAB program, I thought I'd revisit it.
If you are Gen X, Gen Y and have been using social media since you were in diapers, you have probably forgotten most of what you posted online, but that embarrassing photo of you, with you-know-who, doing God-knows-what, in I-can't-remember-where might still be online and your potential employer or recruiter can find it. Sends a shiver, doesn’t it?
Your prospective company can find this information via sites like www.spokeo.com. The good news is — You can find out what they know about YOU.
Spokeo is a social network aggregator site. "A wha?" I hear you say. A social network aggregator, that's wha! (Where did all the 't's go, you wonder?)
Spokeo and similar sites are the Sherlock Holmes of social media and like Sherlock Holmes, depending on what side you are on, it can be your friend or your enemy.
I first came across Spokeo when founder Harrison Tang, all 25 years of him, was a guest on our radio show JobTalk last year. Spokeo’s concept is compelling and valuable for recruiters and hiring firms. It is also SPOOKY and may impact your chances of landing your dream job.
The Spokeo pitch is - “Want to see something juicy? Spokeo searches deep within 45 major social networks to find truly mouth-watering news about friends and coworkers.”
Here’s how it works. Register with Spokeo and provide your email details. Spokeo then mines your email contacts and provides information on what those contacts have posted online. So let’s assume Barack Obama is in your email list as Barack(AT)WhiteHouse.com. Spokeo will identify the social postings attributed to that email address, effectively mapping and tracking the social footprint. You can find this information for a very small fee. So can your prospective employer.
This is excerpt from Information Gathering Tips for the Job Seeker, a free eBook. No registration or email required. Nuthin!
Just click Information Gathering Tips for the Job Seeker and off you go! ______________________________________________________________
So if you posted pictures on Flickr, Facebook, MySpace - whatever, Spokeo will find those once it knows the email address you posted them with. Your prospective employer can also find this information using your email address.
Since I last wrote about Spokeo, the web site has been redesigned (and not for the better in my opinion.) The previous design highlighted that the business model is primarily based on subscriptions from “Law Enforcement,” “Business” and “Recruiting.” Spokeo’s pitch to recruiters is “23% of recruiters already research social networks. Spokeo goes a step beyond and automates candidate research across social networks.”
The site is a bit more reticent about its business model now, but if you hit the “Friends” search button, Spokeo tells you to “Scan your email contacts and be shocked by what you find.” Will your prospective employer be shocked at what they find???
Yes, it’s a little creepy, but founder Tang’s response is the company only aggregates information that is publicly available. If you have any concerns about what you might ever have posted, it is probably a good time investment to check sites like this one out. There is a small monthly charge to get decent access, but it might be worth it. The company says you can cancel at any time.
Here's a simple exercise. Go to Spokeo and key in your name or email address. If you've been active in social media, you'll be interested in findings.
You might also benefit from creating a separate email address for your interview / job application process and which you do not use for social media activity.
Is it Spokeo or Spooky-o? You decide.
Watch Choose Your Attitude (and laugh)
FREE eBook for Job Seekers
I'm following the advice of Social Media guru, David Meerman Scott who advises to give eBooks away unconditionally. Thus, no registration or email address is required to download Information Gathering Tips for the Job Seeker. Just click and you have it.
If you like it, pass it on - (Hey, Tweet it)and keep IrishmanSpeaks in Guinness.
This blog is dedicated to helping those who are in job search and job transition. (In general, I do NOT use the word “Unemployed” because I do not believe job seekers and those in job search / job transition should see themselves as unemployed. What I am about to say now is not simply semantics. If you are doing THE most important job you have ever done in your life – finding a well paying job – don’t tell me (and DON’T tell yourself) you are unemployed. “Unemployed” is a self-knocking word and words count in this process. Thus you are in unpaid employment, between successes, in job search – whatever, but get rid of that swear word beginning with “U.”
Blogger Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks primarily earns a crust speaking to Corporations and Associations (Harley-Davidson, Incentive Marketing Association, Dairy Farmers of America etc.) but has a deep and abiding passion for those in job search and job transition.
He is Co-host JobTalk on Chicago local radio and board member Community Career Center, Naperville.