Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel
Isaiah Hankel
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join us as we talk about…

In this week’s episode…

  • You’ll learn that more and more employers are reviewing job candidates digital footprints before hiring
  • Next, you’ll learn about linguistic footprint and five ways employers can view it
  • Finally, you’ll learn why it is important to protect your linguistic footprint

More and more people are starting to understand that employers are carefully reviewing job candidates’ digital footprints before hiring. But, too many people still believe that these footprints are limited to public, self-identifying posts.

This is not the case. Today’s Artificial Intelligence systems are focused heavily on identifying posts from people simply by the way the post is written. This has allowed hiring software programs to identify anonymous posts from potential job candidates in order to screen out risky candidates who might troll the company in the future.

In other words, employers are now looking at your linguistic footprint online. A linguistic footprint is often referred to as a “digital linguistic footprint” or “language footprint”. It’s a concept that pertains to the traces of one’s language and communication patterns left behind in various forms of digital communication and online interactions.

It encompasses the way individuals express themselves, communicate, and engage with others through written or spoken language in the digital realm. This footprint is created through a person’s interactions on social media, emails, blog posts, comments, and other online platforms.

The key elements of your linguistic footprint include, first, your writing style. Each person has a unique way of writing, characterized by their vocabulary, sentence structure, tone, and writing habits. These linguistic elements form part of a person’s linguistic footprint and can be used to identify or distinguish them online.

The second key is your topics of interest. The subjects and topics that an individual frequently discusses or engages with online contribute to their linguistic footprint. It reveals their interests, expertise, and the communities they are a part of.

The third key is language preferences, such as speaking more than one language, use of emojis and and use of emoticons: In particular, the use of emojis, emoticons, or other non-verbal symbols in digital communication can provide insights into a person’s emotional expression and communication style.

The fourth key is the frequency of communication: How often and how actively is someone engaging in online conversations, such as posting, commenting, or replying, is another aspect of their linguistic footprint. It can reflect their online presence and level of engagement.

Fifth and finally, your online identities. The usernames, handles, or pseudonyms people use online can also become part of their linguistic footprint and may reveal their online personas or affiliations.

At first glance, you may think this is impossible or a long way off. You may think you’re smart enough to know how to randomize the way you type or the handles you choose, or that a tech company has your best interests at heart and private really means private.

If so, you’re mistaken.

Some of the most sophisticated criminals have been brought down by the subtlest of accounting patterns. They used tools to randomize the numbers they were laundering but other online tools found that the footprint wasn’t truly random a the number 2 easy used just a few too many times, as an example.

In terms of privacy, AI tools can create accounts and get access to private Facebook groups, subReddits, private LinkedIn groups and more. Certainly an employer can just join these groups under a different name too. Employers are using these tools.

One such tool is called the “FLINT System” and it can identify authorship of anonymous posts online with 80% accuracy and climbing. An article posted in the LSE Impact Blog details how AI is being used to crack double blind studies. In the article, it shows how software can name all the authors of any abstract it’s given simply from the abstract itself and no other contextual information.

In summary, a linguistic footprint is the digital trail of one’s language and communication patterns left across various online platforms. It offers valuable insights into an individual’s online behavior, interests, and communication style, making it a significant aspect of digital identity and analysis.

As a job candidate, make sure you’re protecting your linguistic footprint in addition to your digital footprint by practicing good online etiquette. Don’t assume your posts are anonymous anymore or that a company’s privacy settings mean anything.

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