Will Companies & HR Google People/Employees? Yes!

Google LogoIf you’re in the process of applying for a new job or considering changing jobs, you’re probably thinking about updating your resume and polishing your interviewing skills. Many wonder whether or not companies Google potential employees/people; the answer is yes. Not only is it yes, but what you’re about to read may seem shocking! Take this as a warning: if you’re not diligent, Google can potentially derail your job search and put you way off course.

Conducting an effective job search now requires that you take control of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for your name. To put it another way, if somebody types your name into Google, you need to ensure that the first page of results (top 10) are items that you want to showcase to employers.

Here’s what pops up when somebody types my name into Google:

You can see that my LinkedIn profile is the first item that a potential employer sees, which is followed by my personal website (click here), my Twitter profile, and so on. Should you keep digging deeper, you’ll find social profiles, articles I’ve written for AwesomeCloud.com, and even some 5K race results from back in 2007. I’m an active guy!

When an business or the dreaded Human Resources (HR) Manager finds a variety of results that can be associated to you, the employers can piece together a view of who you are. If an employer can’t find anything about you online, that should be a red caution flag. Regardless of your age or your views on privacy, Human Resources (RH) is going to Google you and expect to see that you’re an active part of the 21st century. Even if you don’t consider yourself tech-savvy, you still need to establish an online presence (if only as a placeholder).

Here’s a checklist of social profiles that you can create to get some solid search engine placements
– LinkedIn Profile
– Facebook Profile
– Twitter Profile
– Google+ Profile

If you have a unique name, like Jason Lurcott, every search result that appears is going to be related to you. You’ll need to take action to make sure that you have as much control as possible over what people see. This can be as simple as creating one, or all, of the social profiles listed above, or perhaps creating your own personal website. Setting up your own website is an action that I highly recommend. If you don’t feel you’ll be able to make it into anything interesting, you can at least use that website to direct people to check out your other social profile, or even just put your resume. When it comes to linking your profiles to each other, the more the better.

For readers with a relatively common name, like John Anderson, companies will likely append some extra information onto the end of their search. To practice, search things like, “John Anderson Philadelphia PA” or “John Anderson Best Buy”, to get a better feel as to what an employer might see.

Inevitably, there will be information on Google that you don’t want potential employers to see. If you find yourself in a situation where there are unflattering pictures, or references to something you did that you may not be too reputable, try reaching out to the website owner and request that they remove the offending content. This may not always work, but generally the website owner will have no problem with it, especially if it’s to make you look good for an employer.

From personal experience, screening candidates, you can find some genuinely interesting information about applicants before you ever meet them. I’ve personally spent many hours screening and researching employees after they had sent in a resume, so don’t feel like the employer is breaching any codes of privacy; it’s all very normal.

I vividly recall Googling a potential intern, and seeing his mug shot on the first page of Google. While the vast majority of employers would immediately discredit this person, I took a closer to look and saw that he was arrested for something along the lines of “disorderly conduct” in Fort Lauderdale during Spring Break. Being in his shoes at one time, I can understand that things like this happen, but not every employer would have given him the courtesy of taking an in-depth look.

If this fellow had taken the time to Google himself, he could have taken action and flooded search engines with professional pictures, and good content to prevent an employer from discrediting him early on. After all, I’m sure I wasn’t the only employer who found his mug shot…

While you’ll probably never have complete control over what you want people to see when they Google your name, you can, at the very least, manage your online reputation with a little due diligence.

If you’re interested in learning more about managing what employees see when they Google your name, drop me a line by emailing [email protected]. I can assist you with establishing an online presence and cleaning up your existing online reputation.

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