A simple Google search to see what results come up when your name is punched into the worlds biggest search engine – It’s just a smart thing to do. Feel free to head over to Google now to do a quick search…I’ll wait…Did you like what you found?
You may be surprised to know that you are not the only one searching for information about you online. It turns out that just about everybody wants to know more about you, and it’s not just your family and friends:
- 79% of HR recruiters and hiring managers screen job candidates by reviewing online information about them.
- 86% of hiring managers have told candidates that they were rejected based on what was found online about them.
- Even 12% of College admissions officers said that posts which include photos of alcohol consumption, illegal activity, and the use of vulgar language have negatively impacted a potential student’s chances in being granted admission.
Sometimes I think that too much of the “Google yourself often” conversation is framed around the fear of having bad things appear online about you. This fear approach may motivate some, but I prefer to remind people of the opportunity angle. Yes, I firmly agree that it’s a good idea to keep your questionable behaviour offline as much as possible, but it’s also good to remember that hiring managers are looking to find out good things about you too…so they can hire you. This infographic from 2011 says that 68% of recruiters have hired a candidate because of what they saw about their potential hire on social media. Some of these reasons were because the candidates profile:
- Gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit
- Supported their professional qualifications
- Showed the candidate was creative
- Showed solid communications skills
- Demonstrated the candidate’s awards and accolades
Googling yourself isn’t about vanity, egotism, or a sense of self-importance. It’s about ensuring your online presence is an accurate representation of who you are personally and professionally. You wouldn’t submit a resume without proofreading it, so it just makes sense to take a few moments each month to Google yourself and “proofread” the information available about you online. If you don’t like what you see, you can take steps to remove questionable posts/photos and change your online behaviour going forward. It’s better to start now than to wait until you are actively looking for a job.
For some additional facts, stats, and tips to help you find out what the internet is saying about you, check out the infographic below from www.backgroundcheck.org.
IMPORTANT NOTE: This infographic asks you to log out of Google to get “unbiased results”. It is true that this will disconnect the search results from any information Google has stored about your Google Account. But Google also uses third-party cookies that your browser has stored to customize your results as well. To turn off both of these customizations at the same time, all you have to do is add the simple “&pws=0” URL parameter to the end of your search URL, hit enter, and you will see the results most people on the web will see. The URL should then look something like this https://www.google.com/search?q=Your+Name&pws=0. Big thanks to colleague @erichollebone for sharing the URL parameter tip.
…And, on a lighter note, a final thought on “Googling yourself” from 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan…