There’s an interesting article in tonights London Lite newspaper highlighting the fact that a large number of employers are now performing searches online to find out information about prospective employees via personal blogs and sites like MySpace and Facebook.
A fifth of managers in a new survey have admitted to “Googling” potential candidates to find out personal information about them.
25% of the employers questioned in the survey that had used web search said that they had rejected people because of “dubious personal information” uncovered on blogs or social websites.
Is your blog going to cost you your dream job?
The article goes on to give examples where a leading computer company Googled a female applicant and found topless pictures of her, where a recruitment company disregarded a potential recruit because her MySpace page claimed she only read celebrity magazines and an example where a candidate was rejected because of his online personal revelations about “alcohol abuse and disrespect for his job”.
Needless to say the first thing I did when I got home tonight was Google myself and see what prospective employers would find!
Now the problem I’ve got is that I lead something of a double life. My main focus is my acting work so I was very pleased to see that the first couple of pages of Google results featured past roles, reviews and my IMDb profile. Hurrah! All that money spent at drama school was worthwhile. However, as with every struggling actor, I also need to do other work to keep food on the table so I can imagine that any prospective employer for a regular job would take one look at the SERPS and question my statement that “I’m 100% committed to this corporate company, Mr Big Cheese, and of course I won’t piss off as soon as an acting role comes up”. Oops! 😳
It might be worth Googling yourself and seeing what kind of results you get back and imagine yourself in the position of a potential employer. Would you want to employ this person? Have you given too much away on your MySpace page? Are there dubious photos of you on Flickr?
How can you have fun online and yet still portray a professional appearance to potential employers?
- Use a nome de plume (an assumed name) for any blog that you run that might be considered risque*
- Ask your friends not to post stuff of you drunk as a skunk on Flickr or YouTube using your real name
- Use only a screen name for your social bookmarking sites (nobody wants to know that you’ve bookmarked www.goatloversmonthly.com)
- If you find anything online via a third party that you’d rather not be made public, email them and ask them to change your name to a pseudonym
- Be aware that deleting old profiles isn’t an immediate fix. The search engines cache pages so it might take some time for your less than savoury experiences to disappear!