Employers Consider Job Applicants File-Sharing Activity

- Pess Release

Eighty-six percent of the managers (both hiring managers and supervisors) consider unethical and illegal downloading, file-sharing, and uploading attitudes and behaviors of their job candidates when making hiring decisions, according to a recent nationwide survey conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

"Higher education students should take note of these findings," Diane Smiroldo, vice president of public affairs for BSA. "In preparing to enter the workforce, they need to know that illegal and unethical behaviors relating to illegal downloading and file-sharing pirated software can mean they may not get the job they want."

The study, conducted by BusinessWeek Research Services, shows that if 29 percent of company hiring managers knew that a job applicant had lax attitudes toward illegal file-sharing in the work place, they "probably" or "definitely" would reject a job candidate. If managers knew that a job applicant had improperly obtained or shared files in the past, 34 percent of managers report they would "probably" or "definitely" reject the candidate.

"In addition to the loss of a potential job, illegal file-sharers and downloaders should weigh the other costs to using pirated software," adds Smiroldo. "Last year the U.S. lost nearly $7 billion as a result of software piracy and a higher piracy rate means fewer jobs for college graduates."

Graduates also should be aware of how important file-sharing behavior is after a candidate has been hired. For example, 72 percent of the managers report in the survey that, if an employee in their company was caught improperly obtaining or sharing copyrighted files at work, the person would experience significant consequences.

In fact, just over 60 percent of hiring managers and supervisors say the employee would be disciplined or reprimanded, and close to one in five reports the person would be fired (18 percent). Fourteen percent of hiring managers and 16 percent of supervisors report the person would be put on probation.

"Students need to know that they may be putting their future careers in jeopardy if they are illegally downloading copyrighted digital works. The consequences of illegal downloading and file-sharing may impact the hiring process, as well as increase the risks of infecting companies' computers with spyware and viruses," said Smiroldo.

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