Friday, November 17, 2006

You've Been Googled

Have you ever typed your name into Google to see what comes up? If so, you're not alone. Your boss has, too. Don't have a boss? Well, if you're a soon-to-be grad who will be in the job market soon, a prospective employer will Google you. If they do not Google you, they will check you on Myspace, Facebook, or any social networking site and will determine based on what they see if they will hire you or not--no matter how stellar your resume really is.

Let's consider a hypothetical situation. Nick, for instance, is a senior in college. Nick's friends catch him doing something funny and post it on YouTube:

Nick laughs. His friends laugh. Eight months later, when this video is long forgotten, a prospective employer Nick has just interviewed with sees the video after finding it on Nick's Myspace page. The employer is not laughing--and neither is Nick, since he just lost a great job.

Google and basically any social-networking site have become a new way for employers to perform background checks. Whether a potential job candidate has incriminating photos or videos on the internet or information that relegates a person's credibility to earn the position, it is important to remember that Myspace or any of those sites are not just a "place for friends." Any type of information on the internet is accessible to anyone who knows how to find it and they may use this information at their discretion.

So before you decide to post a picture of you doing a kegstand at that last party or of you in that scantily clad outfit, try to take some of the following precautions:

  • Don't post anything incriminating
  • Don't do anything incriminating (yeah, right)
  • Make your profile(s) private
  • Change your name (just kidding)

We know employers are real people and have probably taken the same pictures you have and posted the same things on their own myspace accounts (improbable, but likely), don't assume they know the difference between Friday nights and Monday mornings. It's a competitive job market out there; employers will figure out a way to weed people out.

**Special thanks to Nick for the YouTube clip--you should probably take that video down before graduation.


At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what employers did in the years before the internet to find out whether they were hiring creepshows. Hmm...

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous mimi said...

omg that video is insane!

ps good bloggings nic! i really love reading this thing

--michelle xoxo

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Brian said...

I think that what you do throughout your entire life will follow you no matter what.

So you didn't post the video of you doing a kegstand. I'm willing to bet that your employer will find out sooner or later. And to be honest, if your employer wouldn't hire you because of something you did in your own free time (something that you are proud enough of to post on the internet), then that's not the employer for you.

As for personal information regarding you that you did not post, if you simply Google yourself, you can ask websites to take down any and all personal information regarding you.

At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a teacher. I had an unfortunate situation of looking like someone who has a picture up on My lookalike was posed nude, with duct tape on her nipples, whilst holding a beer can and wearing a funny hat. One of my students thought it would be funny to make a MySpace page for me with this picture as the default. I was mortified. Thankfully, MySpace took the profile down, but it just goes to show that NOBODY is safe on the Internet!

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Megan said...

All of my senior friends are deleting their facebooks before applying to jobs because of this...

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