Over a year after we entered the recession and nearly 6 months into my post grad exploitation internships, things have been looking up. My job searches are turning up less temp to permanent crap (I’m supposed to move out on that?!) and more actual jobs. So, I’ve gleefully been sending off my incredibly polished resume along with cover letters that I can now expertly write. All this thanks to plenty of research and many sleepless nights spent thinking about mounting college debt and the even more terrifying prospect of living at home for much longer.  As I’ve been hearing back from recruiters about phone screenings and face to face interviews, it is becoming increasingly clear that after my search has ended, theirs begins- and the only thing missing is a pair of latex gloves and a tub of Vaseline.

Rather than focusing on a candidate’s qualifications and professional references (ie. the things of relevance), some businesses are investigating prospective employees Big Brother style as part of the hiring process and even reserve the right to continue to do so for the duration of employment with their company.

I can see the place of these sorts of background checks when applying to work at a school, a bank, or some similar organization in which a thorough investigation of a person is imperative to ensure the safety of persons, goods, and services. However, even when I worked at a middle school, I received a conditional offer for employment before being fingerprinted and undergoing a background check, or you know, spreadin’ ‘em. One company I’m currently looking at wants- at our first face-to-face meeting- access to my school and driving records, my credit report, and my past addresses. They also want carte blanche to look into my ‘general reputation, character, and modes of living.’ Did I mention this position consists of sales cold-calling? Why the hell would all that be necessary to make crappy sales calls?

And maybe I’m a little paranoid, but what the hell do they do with these reports if you’re not hired or once you leave the position? Would you really want your information stored in some database or freely exchanged between difference divisions or companies? The release forms I’ve seen guarantee that the firm conducting the research will not give collected information out to anyone other than the client, the organization to which you’re applying. Nothing at all is mentioned in relation to what the client organization can and cannot keep or share with others.

For better or for worse, sodomizing the privacy of job seekers seems to be the way of the future. As much as I would like to fight the good fight and maintain the iron curtain between my work and non-work lives, I, like you, have bills. And for those of us who didn’t win the sperm lottery, that means we have to work. I suppose it’s a matter of how bad you want/need the position and what are you willing to give up to get it. Well, in the mean time, relax those muscles.

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