It is extremely important that you know
what a hiring manager, a HR person or your
bosses will find out about you on the internet, especially if you are looking to change
jobs, get a promotion or enter into a new
career field. It really is not that uncommon for company staff members to regularly search online to discover what is
being said about their company, a manager or other employees. You can be sure
that if it is negative then someone is
going to be affected by it, whether or not
the information is true.
The Harris Interactive survey listed
some reasons as to why employers chose
not to hire a candidate after searching for
information online. They reported that
the primary reason for not hiring (53%)
was that the pictures or comments were
Another 44% found pictures or information related to drinking or using illegal drugs. Thirty-five percent said they
found the candidate bad-mouthing a
previous employer. Others found things
like candidates who had poor communication skills, lied about their own qualifications or shared what was considered to
be confidential information from a previous company. And these were just the
findings based on the candidate’s own
postings. Imagine what more they would
have to consider if they saw what others
were saying about you.
In order to discover what there is online
about you, it will be necessary to take
some time to do it right, and to be thorough about it. Here are some things that
you need to do in your searches.
Use your real name in searches, along
with any nicknames that others use when
referring to you. Check your maiden
name, too, along with any aliases. There
may be things you posted years ago that
you had forgotten all about—remember
that party when you turned 16—or that
Spring Break? Now imagine all the pictures of you taken by others tagged with
your name on them.
Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask and Dogpile.
They really do use different algorithms
and will often produce different results.
Use variables with your search. This
could include a fellow employee or
friend’s name with yours, your name with
your current or past company or affiliation’s name. You will probably be surprised at the different results you will get
if you try creative search strings.
Find out what is being said about people with your same name. While it may
not be you—others may not know that it
is not you. You must be aware of what is
being said, nevertheless, and actually
read the web pages. If there is a reference
to some kind of undesirable or illegal activity, you should be prepared to offer an
explanation that proves it is not you. Remember that a potential employer may
not know what you look like.
Broaden Your Search
It is quite possible that the main search
engines will not bring up every occurrence of your name. This will mean that
you need to perform individualized
searches to see what may be there. The
most common places where changes
occur daily are Facebook, LinkedIn, My-Space, Twitter and blog sites. Perform
checks for pictures or videos on places
like Google Images, You Tube and more.
Many things online can affect how
others perceive you. Unfortunately,
many of those things you will not be
able to change. The good news, however,
is that there is a lot you can do to make
sure that a possible employer finds the
good things – the things that you want
them to find. Here are some things you
can do to market yourself in a good
Close down any social sites that you
are not using or keeping up. Remove
pictures or comments that will cast you
in a negative light or make you appear
less than professional.
Erase old resumes that are not current or do not have information that will
do you justice.
on Facebook will prevent the public
from viewing your pictures and content.
Using a nickname will also help, instead
of using your real name. Be careful
whom you friend.
You may even want to pay for a background check through providers such as
Radaris. This will let you know about
things that may cause trouble. And there
are even services that will offer to help
you clean out derogatory information
and postings, but always remember
“buyer beware.” Don’t pay for these
services just because they promise—seek
proof of their success first.
Even on its own blog, Google recommends that you get proactive about your
own online reputation. They advise you
to do this three ways: by removing bad
publicity (contact webmasters for material you do not control); think twice
about anything you do post; and by creating enough good content about you
that will enable the search engines to
find more good content than bad.
Finally, learn more about the Deep-net—where some surprisingly real deep
secrets about you can be found. For more
information about this, see the article by
Money.CNN.com called “Employers may
do creepy web searches about you.” It is
sure to be a real eye opener. •
The New York Times: More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out Applicants
Career Builder: Forty-five Percent of Employers Use Social Networking Sites to Research
Job Candidates, CareerBuilder Survey Finds
Google: Managing your reputation through
Money.CNN: Employers may do creepy web
searches about you