a service whereby people can go in and alter their google results. But, as Kirkpatrick points out, do we really want to give Google more information about us then they already have?? and it's not going to help us track who's searching our identities online anyway. So, we just have to get used to the fact that we're really not going to know exactly who's searching our names daily. And, even if we could find that info out, how much of our privacy might we be willing to give up for that info? IMO, I'm fine with paradoxes and mysteries in life.
Update 4/30/08If you want to know what kinds of stuff you've put online can be found by Google or any other search engine, go to this most recent post
Most of us don't think about who might be searching us online. Most of us don't even bother to Google our own names to find out what might come up in search. The thing is, most employers, most people who meet us at networking events, and lots of folks who get wind of us one place or another are certainly searching our names and finding out all sorts of stuff online. Some of it might be right, some of it wrong, and some of it they shouldn't be seeing at all. So, tonight at 7pm, I'll be doing a talk on e-Networking and online profile at Bay Path College out here in Longmeadow, MA. This talk is free and open to the public...
I'm very pleased that Bay Path is giving me this opportunity and that they recognize that their students, if not prepared, might end up losing opportunities with never knowing the reason why. I was more convinced of this after hearing John Bell from Ogilvy mention during a panel at We Media Miami that Ogilvy routinely looks at Facebook profiles--for both headhunting and applicant screening.
Yet it's one of those factors that's not mentioned--and I'm sure no human resources person is going to tell you that you weren't the ideal candidate because of that drunken puking picture on Facebook....
That's not the way human resources does things.
Actually, I'm pretty horrified that a routine legal background check is no longer the only means an employer might use to find out information about an applicant. I'm sickened that they feel a need to go rummaging around in the underwear drawers of our social media profiles--something most of us are under the impression are private. But, if we allow those profiles (as well as our blogs, etc.) into search, then we're putting them out there as public info. It all seems like a nasty game of Gotcha!: when it comes to search and the Internet, many employers know how to exploit the ignorance of potential employees.
Many of my Silicon Valley insider friends feel that, if there's a critical mass of personal information out there, eventually employers won't care about the degree of personal information they find. Well, thing is, Internet life moves faster out in the Silicon Valley, and there are pockets, like where I live in Western Mass, that aren't going to change their conservative ways any time in the near future (when you might need a job.)
Better to know what's going on--know what employers are doing, and how to leverage social media to help you get a job, not disqualify you from it.
See you tonight in Longmeadow!
Update Mike Ho's article Should you research job candidates at social networking sites? notes that of a recent survey by the Society for Human Resources Mgt, rought 20 percent of those companies answering the survye admitted that "they had disqualified at least one candidate based on information that was found" on social networking sites. And while there may not currently be any suits against companies for not hiring someone due to their soc. networking profile, the chances are this is because H.R. departments either outsource the research or simply won't tell you that they were indeed poking around in there. How can someone sue if they're never told the truth??