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You Are What You Post
While the revolution in business supposedly afforded by the Web extends barely beyond Denis Leary's Lotus-sponsored smirk, the tiny company I work for has gained one tremendous advantage from our toe-hold on the Internet.
The Web makes a great HR department.
Forget actually finding people -- CareerPath and The MonsterBoard and la.jobs are all fine and good, but the Web's real advantage comes in giving me -- currently the entire R&D Department, and desperate to hire -- access to real-world information on the anonymous names that come across my desk. A quick AltaVista search will produce more (and more honest) information about an applicant than a couple of tedious hours over a sandwich and a soda.
The Web has irreversibly shrunk the distance between work and play, between job and hobby. What was once well-hidden weekend noodling is now world-wide spectacle, most of it sloppy and ugly and just plain wrong. These aren't things a small company can afford in its programmers, and it's all very good information to have when making a decision.
This sort of on-the-cheap fishing expedition is inevitably going to become part of the standard hiring process, especially in the computer industry. It's just too easy to do. Everything you say on-line -- everything you have ever said on-line -- is going to be part of every job interview you have from now on.
Just something to think about before that next post to alt.sex.stories.
Other pieces about online publishing: