Tech & Work

Smile, you're on Google

Just completed a major project successfully and felt it's time to move on? Updated your resume and already linked up with a headhunter from that top recruitment agency in town? Before you click "Send" to forward your resume to the headhunter, there's one more thing left to do.

Do a Google - on yourself.

If it sounds bizarre to you, this was exactly what one vice president of HR of multi-billion dollar company Hathaway Jones did.

The company was on the verge of hiring Mimi Brewster to head up the company's flagship store in Shanghai, when Google picked up her name in a November 1999 issue of the Alternative Review. A report identified Mimi, fresh out of Berkeley, as the leader of a nonviolent but vocal protest group that had helped mobilize campaigns against the World Trade Organization.

According to the Harvard Business Review Interactive Case Study:

"... It was soon clear that Mimi's involvement had been more than just a student's expression of defiance. One newspaper story featured a photo of Mimi sitting outside China's San Francisco consulate protesting China's treatment of a dissident journalist."

Virginia (vice president of HR) presents Fred (who was considering hiring Mimi) with the Mimi dossier and urges caution.

You can read about the case study in We Googled You. In fact, "Googling" prior to a hire is a topic that has been covered by TechRepublic previously in Do you google job candidates and Are you prepared to be googled?

However, the result of the above case nonewithstanding, I would like to approach this issue from a slightly different angle. Here goes.

As IT professionals, it is inevitable that we do a fair amount of research as well as regular reading online to help us in our chosen profession. There are times when we need to post questions or respond/comment on certain articles online. Now, unless you chose to post anonymously all the time, a "profile" of you will start to get built up over a period of time.

So the poser here is: Do you actively ensure that you maintain a good "reputation" online?

Now, while I can say that the readers of TechRepublic are the most mature and rational people around, that is unfortunately not the case on most bulletin boards or blogs around the Internet. Any tips, comments, or advice for the rest of them? Join the discussion.


Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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