If you are from the city of Bozeman in Montana, then do not apply for a job with the city. In order to verify your background, the city asks for the user names and passwords to social networks like Facebook, MySpace etc! In a country like US, where most of the data related can be easily fetched using Social Security Number, why would anyone ask for your user names and passwords to an internet site?
The background checks became very widely used and popular after the slowdown in 2001. I encountered it for the first time when my friend took up a new job in LA with an aviation giant in 2004. After getting selected, he had to wait for couple of week more since the background checks could not be completed. The background checks were delayed because of lack of response from his college in an obscure town in rural Tamil Nadu. As a result, he had to personally call up the officials and request them to speed up matters.
The second time was in 2007 when I took up a new job. When I applied for the job, I was unaware of these background checks. By this time, I had moved to India. So, I was surprised to get an email from the HR of my previous company in the US. After telling me about the background checks, she asked me on what to say and how much to say to my prospective employer.
The third tryst with a background check was the most disturbing. I was talking to administrative official seated near the HR when the phone rang on HR’s desk. Being close to the HR, I could help eavesdrop on the conversation. I was shocked to hear the following snippet. “Yes.. Ohhh..OK.. It is about the background check for Mr XXX!… I think I remember him!!!… I think Mr XXX was thrown out by us!…”
Picture Courtesy: http://www.barterexchangenetwork.com/Tags: Musings,Background Checks,Bozeman,Montana,Facebook,MySpace,Social Security Number,Tamil Nadu,2001,2004,2007,HR