Googling job applicants

We’re in the middle of a hiring process and I’ve spent the past few days interviewing – hopefully tomorrow’s second interviews will be the last of it! My apologies to those I spoke with on Friday, I really had had enough by then.

As a natural part of “Let’s get to know this person” we Google a candidate, check Facebook and LinkedIn etc. I would expect this is a perfectly natural thing to do but one recruitment consultant seemed genuinely stunned – ug. If I’ve learned anything in the past week, it’s that a Resume/CV is not a reliable way to judge a candidate’s application, but finding their digital footprints can often throw up some interesting and relevant stuff.

Of course, there’s a growing problem especially for the “younger generation” who grew up with The Internet that every stage of their lives is available for all to see, stuff that was created well before they even thought about getting a job and what a potential employer might think. Worse, on some sites (Facebook comes to mind) it’s not just what you write, it’s what your friends write!

Personally I find it valuable to get to know the “whole person” – we’re all individuals and I think that anyone who judges a candidate solely based on what they find online is making a statement about themselves and their prejudices rather than anything insightful about recruiting people.

However, I would advise candidates (and their recruitment consultants) to Google themselves and be prepared to engage in a conversation about whatever turns up. In addition it can’t hurt to lock down your Facebook profile for the duration of your job search.

I find it fascinating how “Social Media” has turned everyone into a publisher – and worse, their material is easy to find. In days gone by people would partition their lives into different phases and zones – just think of the awkwardness of meeting a colleague when you’re out shopping with your family. Work/Home/School would not intermix too much and could almost have different personas for each. Now it’s all visible, and in the process we’re having to get to know and accept each other and ourselves as fully-rounded people – which isn’t comfortable for some, but I think makes for a richer experience in the long run.

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