In the news this week:

‘NASA Intern loses job after accidental profanity-laced tweet to space council fellow’ 

In the never-ending series of social-media faux pas affecting an individual’s employment opportunities, the news which broke this week from NASA is perhaps the most bizarre yet. After receiving an offer of an internship at the space agency, a woman took to Twitter to excitedly (and expletively) tell the world of her good news. When a stranger asked her to mind her language, she replied with further expletives, and her friends joined in with the abuse. The stranger then informed the woman that he was a member of the space council, which oversees NASA, and she subsequently had her internship offer revoked. 

Some may argue that this is an overreaction on NASA’s part – even the member of the space council has expressed his regret at the decision – but it highlights the ever-increasing role internet activity can have on real life events. While the initial expletive tweet may not necessarily be indicative of the person’s personality and behaviour in general, her aggressive reaction to being challenged by the council member inevitably raised some alarm bells within the company.  

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) is not just about finding one misguided Tweet and highlighting it to end a career. It provides a deeper understanding of an individual, and offers an holistic insight into their behaviours, motivators and professional background. As such, it is trends in behaviour over time, be they an aggressive nature, intolerance of others or professional malpractices, which are highlighted. These factors are ultimately of greater concern to an employer than a spur-of-the-moment excited tweet.  

The internet provides the greatest wealth of information ever available from which to build pictures of individuals and help determine (or otherwise) their credibility as a representative of any firm. More and more firms such as NASA are beginning to realise the potential this provides to protect their reputation. While NASA stumbled upon it by chance, firms are increasingly adding EDD into their long-term due diligence processes, and it is already proving successful in many cases.