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Negative side of applying for jobs online.

Sabria S. JawharLooking for a job? Do you have all the right social media connections to help you find one? LinkedIn? Check. Naukrigulf? Check. Check. Anything that gives you an online edge to find a job is just about everyone's goal these days.

But then there are the snoopers. The gossips. Those green with envy, or if you are so inclined, the ones with evil eye. If you think your job hunt is private, or that answering a call for someone with your specific skills gives you an honest shot at a paying position, think again.

The other day a friend of mine sent out an online call for a skilled professional to handle a specific project. Replies started coming in with suggestions for a number of women who would be perfect for the job. Inevitably, though, some individuals couldn't help themselves and publicly criticized at least one job candidate. The criticism didn't address the woman's professionalism or skills on the job, but alleged private, personal indiscretions.

The individual complained that the job candidate "harmed" Saudi society by having an illicit relationship. She claimed that because such alleged behavior affects Saudi society, the job candidate was not worthy of being considered for employment.

While we Saudis are mindful that protecting Saudi society is a sacred duty, especially since Saudi society has treated women so well, the lesson here is that if you choose to apply for a job online or your name comes up as a potential candidate, your CV and your personal background are no longer just between you and your prospective employer.

It's one thing to have a criminal record or have a documented track record of swindling people. Sure, you should be called out on it and explain yourself why you deserve a high-level job when you have such a checkered past.

However, now job applicants who post CVs publicly or answer public postings on employment websites must consider who is trolling about in an effort to slander you for no other reason than to be mean-spirited.

In the case of the woman accused of being indiscrete, there was no evidence she behaved in such a manner or even if she did that her personal conduct would impact the job she was to perform. And even if she did engage in questionable personal behavior, how is it anyone's business? And why is this snoop who is exposing this woman appointing herself judge, jury and executioner.

Really, if every individual were judged on their personal conduct from birth to present, very few people would be employed today.

Although online job postings have made it easier for both employers to find the right candidates and the job seeker to find the best employer at the best salary, the sickening side effect is that job seekers are no longer guaranteed privacy. People with an axe to grind spend their time Googling names of their friends and enemies, then lay waste to their enemies with slander without a shred of evidence.

I know that my friend who issued the call for a skilled professional to handle a project will ignore this vicious and slanderous posting because she recognizes such missives for what they are: Pure and simple jealousy and backstabbing. And I know the job candidate who was slandered will ignore the posting because she is a professional and her work speaks for itself.

But others will be hurt by such ugly postings and they could very well lose out on a job they deserve. It's well worth the effort to be careful about how job seekers apply online for work and consider who may be watching them. If one sees a public call for candidates for a job, answer privately. Don't give the gossips a chance to ruin your career aspirations.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Feb 10, 2014
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