It is strange how things come together and where ideas pop up.
Last week I meet up with some guys from RefSure, a background screening company based in Australia with global reach. I originally meet them several years ago when they were getting set up, pre 9/11. Now business is booming!
Like all background checking services they offer identity, employment, and education verifications along with police checks, work authorisations and they will even do reference checks for you at a reasonable price. They have links with the major recruitment vendors in Australia, for everyone outside of Australia sorry. Looks like a fantastic service for busy recruiters. However having now used the service myself I cannot comment on the quality of the service.
Now the interesting piece is how this type of service stacks up against general Yahoo and Google type searching, or specific people searching on Yahoo (of course you can pay for background checks on Yahoo as well). Time will tell.
Today I noticed Doc Searls talking about a couple of services that allow you to get information about people, some of them for free. ZoomInfo provides a very comprehensive service that I feel will compete directly with paid background checking services for free, unfortunately seems to only cover the US. It is this free service that seems to have got some attention in the last few weeks.
ZoomInfo provides business solutions for recruiters. They are advertising the use of their service as a talent pool, nice concept. (I need to check which rock I have been under cause ZoomInfo have been around for several years.)
Another service mentioned by Doc is MyDestiny, which maps your online social network, however I have not been able to get it going for some reason my Java VM does not want to work.
These tools along with Preople, Technorati, Feedster, Pubsub and the tradition Google/Yahoo are in some ways making it easy for us all to help inflate our online egos. However they are also going to form a major input source into recruitment process, if your company is just using traditional means of both sourcing and checking candidates you will most likely find yourself in hot water over the next year or so. The legal implications of getting it wrong are quite substantial and you should be ensuring you are doing everything possible to reduce the likelihood of error. Oh, you can also have some fun the process to inflate your ego.