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Do You Google Your Applicants?

Posted in Frequently Asked Questions on 05/07/2008

The Internet has become a wonderful tool in many different ways.  We can find out pretty much anything we want to know from anywhere around the world.  Want to know what the weather is currently like where you are going on vacation?  Look it up on the Internet.  Want to know what type of vehicle has the best safety features?  Look it up on the Internet.  Want to know if your job applicant has a MySpace page?  How easy can it be to check?  While the checking may be very easy, what are you going to do with it once you have the information?  Can it be used in a hiring decision?  Can I Google someone and find out information and use that for a hiring decision?

If you were to ask BackTrack, the first thing we would tell you is to consult your legal department.  This is a decision that your company has to decide for itself.  However, there are some things that an employer needs to be aware of when doing these searches.  If you Google someone and find out that they were arrested half way across the United States and you found the arrest records or even a newspaper article about it, that is not a conviction.  Records are unsubstantiated.  You don’t know if there was a conviction or if the case even went to court.  If you find out that your candidate prefers an alternative life style, of what use is that information to you and would it affect the job that they would be doing for the company?

Recent surveys show that approximately 25% of hiring managers use Internet search engines to research potential employees and 12% do searches on social neworking sites such as MySpace or Face Book.  Of those hiring managers, 63% have indicated they did not hire a person based on what the found.  Several questions that should come up are – on MySpace or Face Book, who put in the information?  Was it our candidate or was it someone who is considered a peer?  Is it fact or fiction?  How will I know for sure?  Does it really impact his or her position at our company?

For more information on this topic, contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694.