We all know that digital footprint is traceable and possibly left forever. When being hired by a new company whether as an employee or contractor, certain things like name, email, phone number, address, and SSN (for tax forms) will be gathered for sure by the company. With all that information and many background search or reverse people search tools available, how much can the employer find out?

For example, if I sign in to Twitter with my gmail account that the company knows about, will they somehow find my Twitter account with an email address search? Will they find out other information like employment history, age, education, etc that I didn't supply them?

I'd also love to try out any search tools that employers might use to find out how much of my life is on the Internet.

  • This is about what information is available directly on the internet or available through third-party services which collect and consolidate information and how these can be legally used by employers. I think that the question on what data are available in the first place is too broad and unspecific and also off-topic here. And asking for the legality to use such data is off-topic here too, try instead Law. Nov 16, 2023 at 5:57
  • This is like asking "how much is a piece of string?" It depends on how long the string is. How Twitter login works is a separate question. And Legal questions are off-topic.
    – schroeder
    Nov 16, 2023 at 8:06

1 Answer 1


The process you are trying to describe is called OSINT (Open Source intelligence). It's the process of gathering information from public sources.

Google is the biggest tool for OSINT, but there are many other special-purpose tools that make the process easier, like Maltego.

Besides OSINT, there are also paid databases that gather personal info, like past phone numbers, addresses, emails, etc. Often used for Marketing and Sales, they can also be useful for guiding OSINT searches.

Besides OSINT, there are also government databases that different governments set up for employers and others to be able to look up information on an employee. Criminal records, for instance. Different countries make different types of data available, like national ID numbers (e.g. SSN).

  • My thoughts exactly. All though I would have used “search engine” and not specifically Google.
    – LvB
    Nov 16, 2023 at 8:18
  • @LvB except that Google, specifically, indexes more and makes it easier to search than any other search engine.
    – schroeder
    Nov 16, 2023 at 8:19
  • It also filters more. And it was a comment regarding how I would have put it. Not that your awnser was wrong in any way. (To do OSINT I typically use multiple search engines, among them Google and Bing). It was meant more to highlight the functionality you need and less a specific product.
    – LvB
    Nov 16, 2023 at 8:22

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