Is Embarrassing Your Granny Killing Your Job-Search?

In a survey we conducted in the summer of 2009 we asked 633 job-seekers, 553 recruiters (264 corporate, 215 contingent, 72 retained) and 119 career coaches / counselors if , where, and how they do informal background investigations (both online and off) on the other.

The results (below) clearly show that they do – just like the Geico googly eyes, somebody is watching you and they will use that information to decide whether to hire you (the higher the bar, the higher the frequency with which each area is used to do research).

The moral of the story is that if it would embarrass your Granny, you need not do it (or post it). For ideas on what is appropriate  (particularly in status updates and tweets) check out Why Should I Be Interested In Your Status Update / Tweet?

To see more results from our survey check out the following posts:

Searching Out Gold

The Big Disconnect

Where Job-Seekers & Recruiters Go To Network With Each Other

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!



6 responses to “Is Embarrassing Your Granny Killing Your Job-Search?

  1. Some times I have to block friends from Facebook because of some of their posts. Does anyone know how that impacts a recruiter’s view of an applicant?

  2. You might consider adding quantities to your y-axis, and telling us what those bars mean. Right now, your graph doesn’t “clearly” show anything other than one bar is bigger than the next.

    Are these numbers of people? Maybe percentages of each group? Help a reader out, and your data will be even more compelling! 🙂

  3. We probably are being watched by someone more than we realize in everyday life events. All that we say and do should be from a moral and responsible perspective-do the right thing, treat others as you want to be treated, etc. We should always watch what we say and do whether on a social network, in our own homs, at work, times when we think no one is watching/listening… all we do. Remember, what comes from our words/actions is reflective of what is in our hearts.

  4. This is how I’ve been dealing with it:

    1) Use an alias for a personal Facebook account if you don’t want to show up in people’s random searches.

    2) Don’t add anyone who isn’t your actual friend to your personal Facebook, especially past and present co-workers.

    3) Set up a Google Alert for searches with your real name. This way you can be prepared in case someone with the same name comes up in a Google search.

    4) If you are that much of a Facebook junkie, consider buying a smartphone that can handle Facebook well. Don’t use your work computer for Facebook.

    Nothing is foolproof, but I figure these steps make my personal Facebook hard to find. Most of the Google Alert results are either stuff I _want_ HR people to see or people that aren’t me.

  5. I agree, big brother is now everywhere! As a recent Granny I hope that I am fairly broadminded, but certainly squirm at some of the stuff that my fellow facebookers publish. As a recruiter, yes we do sometimes “check people out” on social networking sites. So I would agree, don’t publish anything on your social networking sites that you wouldn’t want your boss never mind your granny to see!

  6. Just create two FB profiles; one professional with your given name. for example, my personal is Jim Fortner and my professional is James Fortner.

    Also, secure what content is able to be seen in your personal FB account and leave your professional open to “everyone”.

    For Pete’s sake, everyone has a private life and it should remain that way and it is none of a prospective employer, recruiters business what is on your personal page. It is YOUR page.

    My two cents

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