Your digital job search footprints

Go away!. Blue hot key on computer keyboard.In the days before big data and company-supplied laptops, employers used to get wind of an employee’s job search through accidental missteps, like an overheard phone call or a resume carelessly left at the photocopy machine. But these days you leave a trail through every visit to Facebook or LinkedIn, as well as your publicly-posted resume, and that opens several areas of questions for both enlightened self-interest and ethical boundaries:

  • How careful should I be? If I’m currently employed, what job search activities might be observable and interpreted?
  • How considerate should I be? If I’m currently employed, what job search activities should not take advantage of my current employer’s resources?

Diane Stafford of The Kansas City Star wrote a recent article (“They know you want out“) about how employers are using data analytics in predictive modeling for talent management. She pointed out that employers can use data to help select the employees who will be a best fit for their culture, and they can use other kinds of data to identify the types of employees who might be vulnerable to being recruited by competitors – in order to keep them fulfilled and happy. This trend is on such a strong track that there’s an emerging specialty in HR – managers of talent analytics.

We encourage a practice of mindfulness in all digital job search activities. You needn’t assume that people are maliciously spying on you, but you should be aware that if you start actively looking for a new job online using either your current employer’s time or equipment, that information could become collected data.

And, it’s always both smart and ethical to treat others as you would want to be treated.

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