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How a blog search could cost you your dream job

March 29th, 2007 · 8 Comments

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!

* Be aware that blogging anonymously doesn’t give you 100% protection as Queen of the Sky, Petite Anglaise and Heather Armstrong will tell you!

Tech Tags: , , , , ,, ,

Tags: Blogging

8 responses so far ↓

  • Mike // Mar 30, 2007 at 9:23 am

    901am report that Catherine Sanderson, aka petite anglaise, has won her court case against the former employers who sacked her for blogging.

    Click here for the story

  • Mike // May 12, 2007 at 11:56 am

    A court case in the States says it’s OK to Google your employees. Read more over at Search Engine Land.

  • Mike // May 22, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    Another great example of how being transparent on t’internet can cost you dear.

  • Ashley // Jun 5, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I think it’s a good thing. People online are often boastful of stealing from work, downloading thousands of mp3s and movies without ever paying for one, using pirated software exclusively, surfing on the clock, doing horrible things to acquaintances, vandalism, cheating on school exams, whoring it up (men or women) five nights a week, etc, etc.

    If it costs them, great. I’d love to see a little more social and peer pressure applied to acting like responsible adults. The period of adjustment to “the privacy I feel like I have” to “the privacy I really have” in the Internet age might make it bumpy for some who don’t deserve it but in the end it’s better for everyone. A lot of people only act like idiots because they see others getting away with it or even being celebrated for it. The freer the information becomes, the fewer double standards can exist too. When enough congressmen and judges have been outed for casual drug use and frequenting prostitutes, the laws regarding such might just step out of the dark ages.

    Employers have always had access to detectives and background checks so this is not exactly anything new. It’s merely lowered the monetary barrier of entry for background investigation.

  • Mike // Jun 6, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Some valid points, Ashley, but how about this for a scenario?

    Someone has a grudge against you and starts posting using your name and appears in the SERPs whenever anyone searches for you. Is that such a good thing?

    I agree with a lot of what you’ve said but I’m a little concerned that a page of search engine results could be the difference between getting a job and not.

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