Have you ever typed your name into Google to see what information may be posted on the internet? Perhaps the results provided links to pages you have on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social networking sites. Were you surprised to see links to your current employer or maybe even comments or clips from emails you may have written several years ago? The amount of information available through a simple internet search is often astounding. Would you ever consider researching a potential candidate using the internet? Taking it one step further, would you ever consider eliminating a candidate from consideration simply due to the content of their MySpace page?
Researching potential candidates on the internet provides an opportunity to unearth information that may not be disclosed in a resume. A blog may contain examples illustrating a candidate’s passion or knowledge on a particular subject. Personal web pages may contain information that demonstrates a commitment to career development or the existence of strong professional networks. Search results may help ascertain if a potential candidate is a good cultural fit for the organization as well. This is not without controversy however. Is it fair, or even legal, for a potential employer to look beyond the resume and into the personal life of a candidate? Is there a correlation between how a potential candidate conducts themselves on the internet to how he/she will conduct themselves professionally? Maintaining a separate personal and professional life is becoming more challenging with the continued proliferation of the web. Employers need to think about how to utilize this information and establish the criterion to be followed in making hiring decisions.
I’d like to hear your stories. Do you conduct internet searches on candidates before scheduling interviews? Have you ever eliminated a candidate from consideration due to the content of their personal web page?