The short answer is very little. When you apply for a job, your application won’t be examined with a fine tooth comb. But, if you get to the interview stage and even pass the interview, you should certainly expect every aspect of your life to be examined. Now, certainly there are areas where you can expect a degree of privacy. An employer cannot discriminate when choosing whether to hire someone. That means they can not judge you based on your lifestyle preferences, your race or who you are married to. But that doesn’t mean your personal life will not affect whether you are taken on in a new position. Here are some of the ways business owners delve into personal information when choosing who to hire.
One of the first things an employer will do when choosing to interview an individual for a job is look for their digital footprint. In fact, they will probably hire a professional to do this for them, making sure the job is done right. What are they looking for, you might ask. They are searching for anything that could be damaging to their business or anything that reflects badly on you as an employee. This could be anything from evidence of poor moral standards to antisocial behaviour online. It may sound like business owners aren’t allowing people to have a personal life. This isn’t the case at all.
Your personal life should be private and completely inaccessible by potential customers and colleagues. The fact is that unless you have your privacy settings high on all your social media these networks are not secure. They can be seen and accessed by anyone who might want to look.
If you have a criminal background, you should disclose it to a potential employer. Most employers will conduct a Background Check for Employment so this is particularly important if the crime that you committed is related to a job that you’re applying for. For instance, someone guilty of tax fraud should disclose this if they are applying for a job as an investor. You may not wish to disclose a crime you have committed if it is far enough in the past or if it’s not related to a job you’re applying for. Committing vandalism in your teens shouldn’t affect a job as an engineer. But you should be aware that if you don’t disclose it, an employer might perform a criminal background check. If the crime is minor, it might be best to be honest rather than letting them find out without you.
Finally, this should be obvious. But if you put down a reference of a previous job you should not expect privacy in this section of your history. While it’s true to say that not all employers check out references, you shouldn’t take a risk on that concept. Essentially, if you had a negative experience in a previous job, don’t put it down as a reference. As long as you have two other references, an employer won’t bother to check it out. However, you shouldn’t leave this time on your CV blank. An area of unemployment looks worse than an area of poor experience.