Digital Dirty Laundry Hurts Prospects

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-08-16

You know the old joke about what happens if you Google yourself? Well, ignore the warning and go ahead--it's better to uncover what you might find now rather than later, perhaps when you can't figure out why recruiters won't respond to your resume or why you were passed up for a sure-thing promotion.

Because such things are happening with increasing frequency, finds a survey released Aug. 14 by ExecutNet, the Norwalk, Conn., headquartered executive recruiting firm. Since February 2005, the percentage of recruiters who say that they use search engines to learn more about job candidates has grown from 75 to 83 percent.

Furthermore, the number of recruiters who have eliminated a candidate based on what they found online jumped from one quarter (25 percent) to nearly one half (43 percent).

Increasingly, report these recruiters, having damaging information or a lack of professionalism online is a deal breaker when the candidate pool is tight.

"For better or worse, the Internet provides recruiters and employers with a wealth of unfiltered information that's used to help evaluate candidates," says Dave Opton, CEO and founder of ExecuNet.

"From a candidate's perspective, there's no question that managing your reputation online is as important as it is offline."

A separate survey of 218 executives revealed that though most (76 percent) candidates expected companies and recruiters to conduct a search of their name online during the hiring process, a whole 22 percent had never entered their own name into a search engine to determine what personal or professional information would be uncovered.

Not only that, but 11 percent of executives admitted that they feared that what would be found out if a recruiter conducting a name search about them, or that it would ruin their chances of landing a job. One-fifth had made an effort to increase the positive information that could be found out about them online, up from 13 percent the year prior.

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