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Do you use Google to conduct 'stealth background checks' on job candidates?

By JodyGilbert ·
A recent article in BusinessWeek Online ( examines the potential backlash of blogging indiscretions, citing cases where reputations were compromised by some salacious personal tidbit that made its way to the Web.

According to the article, employers are starting to use Google to seek out blog posts and other jackpots of personal information to vet job candiates, treading heavily on privacy protections in the process: "Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information -- some of it for a nominal fee -- that is legally off limits in interviews...."

So here's my question (or questions, rather) to the managers out there: Have you ever used Google to get an in-depth picture of someone you were thinking about hiring? And if so, did you come across information that made a difference in your view of the candidate, either pro or con? Do you have any qualms about digging into someone's personal or financial background by using Google to slip under the radar of our privacy protections or do the ends justify the means? And finally, have you ever Googled your way into a discovery that made you think, "Whew -- dodged a bullet on this guy!"?

Share your thoughts here or pop over to my blog and see what people are saying.


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Making incriminating posts

by gralfus In reply to Do you use Google to cond ...

Anybody who posts incriminating stories about themselves under their real name is an idiot. Doing so under a nickname isn't much better. Even though I use a nickname online, I have posted enough using the same nickname to where I can be tracked down (and have been). So nicknames alone are by no means a guarantee of anonymity on Google.

I've tried to use Google to do some basic lookups on a few people and found nothing at all, so Google is mostly a repository of information that has been volunteered. Google can be used with customized search patterns to see if employee databases have been left open, or passwords left in plaintext, and so on. But that is more hacking than most people are comfortable doing.

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by JamesRL In reply to Do you use Google to cond ...

Posting on the Internet is like printing a newspaper - its public. Thats the nature of the beast.

Have I googled a candidate? Yes, only candidates that I am close to hiring though.

Do I take it as authoratative? No. I trust that they are sharing on the net their personal interests, not their financial information. What they post is only one aspect of who they are. I have googled people who are authors of books to see if their books were well reviewed.

I have never gone for data that wasn't openly available.

I would never ever run a credit check unless it was part of the job requirements(in Canada if you are applying for some positions, like stock broker, credit check is mandatory).

I would never use google as a tie breaker. If something I read through Google raised a question, I would try and ask it in a second interview, if and only if it was a valid employment type question.

I do by the way expect a well prepared candidate to google the company I work for.


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Please google me, please please please

by adelle In reply to Stealth?

OMG I would loved for a prospective employer to google me. The worst they could find out about me is that I have a habit of hastily typing "their" when I mean "there".

What happens more often, is that I am screened by recruiters who wouldn't know what google was if it beat them about their head with a 4x2 and said "I'm a search engine that can be used to find information on the internet".

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People Search and Background Checks Stealth

by sdragtop1966 In reply to Do you use Google to cond ...

Google is a great place to start. But if you really want answers I use this service for people search and background checks, its fast & accurate.

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