New offering for job seekers: Fewer embarrassing social media photos

Jun 29 2014, 02:13 IST
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Two other companies say they can search your social media accounts for things that might raise red flags when you’re hunting for a job. Two other companies say they can search your social media accounts for things that might raise red flags when you’re hunting for a job.
SummarySeveral services are trying to help people erase online evidence of behaviour prospective...

Before a college graduate goes job hunting, he or she will probably do a few things: prepare a good resume, be ready to answer some key questions about his or her skills and qualifications, buy some nice clothes.

There’s another task you might find yourself adding to your pre-interview to-do list if a new company, Social Sweepster, has its way: Scanning and scrubbing your Facebook and Twitter pages for pictures and other posts that might make a prospective employer think twice about offering you a job.

Tom McGrath, a graduate of Indiana University’s class of 2013, saw an opportunity to help job seekers find potentially damaging material on their social media accounts using so-called computer vision technology, and so he founded Social Sweepster. While he hasn’t been alone in devising services to help people on the job market tidy up their Facebook and Twitter accounts, Social Sweepster offers something that the competition hasn’t yet matched: attention not only to text, but also to photos.

Two other companies say they can search your social media accounts for things that might raise red flags when you’re hunting for a job. SimpleWash scans your Facebook and Twitter accounts for keywords that might point to objectionable material. You can search for terms on their “Undesirable content” list (or use keywords of your own devising) to find things you’ve said that you might regret, resulting in what the service promises will be “a newer, cleaner you”, at least online.

Another company, Socially Clean, says it will analyse your Facebook profile and the posts you’ve made on your friends’ pages, helping you delete posts until you “ensure that your Facebook page has a Socially Clean Rating of 100%”.

But while both services can read the text posted with pictures on Facebook or Twitter, neither can analyse the photos themselves. After years of using Facebook, Twitter and other social media services in high school and college, many people have either posted or been tagged in many online pictures, often with little in the way of scannable captions. McGrath says that finding potentially problematic images associated with your identity online would be easier if his computers did the work for you, and offers this capability as his competitive edge.

If you grant Social Sweepster access to your Facebook or Twitter accounts, it begins scanning your timelines as far back as 2005. Its filters will unearth pictures containing objects determined with a high degree of

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