Bank of America was brandjacked on Google Plus! Tune in to see what Google doesn’t want you to know. Can you imagine if this hapenned to your employer brand? Owch! Download the show notes for links to the stories covered in this episode. http://www.scribd.com/doc/72875561
I’ve written before about online reputation and how people say stupid things on Twitter and Facebook. Umm… Is “stupid” too strong a word? Hmm… Maybe it would be better to say that people say and do ill-advisable things online? Yes, that is what I meant to say. Sure it is! I want to be sure that you understood what I truly meant because I would not want to offend anyone due to a misunderstanding.
Okay, what I just said was all sarcasm, but I wanted to make a point. What if some time in the future I am trying to get a gig as a Therapist. Someone could research my background and see my comment above and say, “I can’t hire Jim to be a therapist! Based on his “stupid” comment, I think he is insensitive and impatient and like that Therapist on the Geico commercial.”
If you think what I said was farfetched, then you are blissfully unaware of how companies approve candidates in 2010. Microsoft commissioned research on privacy and among their findings was something quite eye-opening; at least, surprising for some.
Here are some of the highlights:
- The recruiters and HR professionals surveyed are not only checking online sources to learn about potential candidates, but they also report that their companies have made online screening a formal requirement of the hiring process.
- Of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 70% say they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Though not as frequently, respondents from the U.K. and Germany report the same trend.
- Recruiters and HR professionals surveyed report being very or somewhat concerned about the authenticity of the content they find.
- In all countries, recruiters and HR professionals say they believe the use of online reputational information will significantly increase over the next five years.
- Positive online reputations matter. Among U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 85% say that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent. Nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent.
Now that you know this, what next? How do you protect your online reputation? May I offer a few suggestions?
- Use Google Alerts to monitor what people say about you on Google. Be sure to use not only your name, but derivatives of your name as well. For example, do people know you by William Anthony Rogers or “Buck” Rogers? If both, set alerts around both names.
- Use a service like TweetBeep or SocialOomph to get email alerts when people mention you on Twitter.
- Create and maintain a dual identity. When you discuss work-related items or industry news, use your real name. However, when you are dancing naked in the Cayman Islands, use a pseudonym like – 1SexyChick. Why? Recruiters researching your name after an interview will be looking for your real name and not your nickname and in this way, you should be safe. Make sense?
I read a lot, perhaps more than I should sometimes, but I do. I was reading a very interesting article on ReadWriteWeb the other day called “Google CEO Suggests You Change Your Name to Escape His Permanent Record.” Here are a few highlights from that article:
- “(Google CEO says) …every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends’ social media sites.”
- “(Google CEO says) …I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.”
- “Perhaps parents should start giving their children short-term names then, which they’ll be less attached to. Save your favorite name for adulthood, kids, because you’ll need to change it. Google says so.”
Okay, when I read the article and especially those snippets, I thought the obvious correlation – The Incredible Hulk.
Just in case my assertion is not so obvious to you, allow me to delve a bit further. Let’s say that I work for a big corporation that deals in nuclear energy as an alternative to oil. (Hey, going green is all the rage these days, right?) I think back to my college days and I remember one of my classmates being a whiz in alternative energy, especially Gamma rays. So I do a quick search on his name – “David Bruce Banner” and what do I see?
Hmm.. I come across data that looks like it could be my old pal David, but I also get a lot of references about an urban myth called – The Hulk.” Hm… maybe I should do an image search?
Wow! I see more and more evidence that Bruce David Banner and this Hulk creature are one in the same. Hmm… Maybe I shouldn’t be thinking of hiring this guy after all? He was cool and all in college, but now he seems to have an anger issue. Nah… I will pass.
So, imagine that you are David Banner trying to get a job. With all the info online about what happens whenever somebody gets on your nerves, chances are your job search will be much longer than it needs to be.
If I were David Banner and I really needed a job (moreso for a new wardrobe than anything else), what could I do to get my data out of Google?
OPTION A: I could walk up to Google and ask them to remove all of my information from their database that ties me to my Hulk personna. Should they refuse, I could say,”Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like it if I were angry.”
OPTION B: If Google were to say that they did not beleive in censorship, do your worse. I would change into a red Hulk and shout thngs like “Crush Puny Humans for not removing my data!” but only say it in Chinese. Odds are, I would make some headway, but in all likelihood only a compromise of some sort would be had.
OPTION C: I could go through the paces of what I find prescribed online. For example, How to Ungoogle Yourself, Un-Google Yourself or Video – How to remove your information from Google.
OPTION D: Do what superheroes have been doing since superheroes were invented, establish a secret identity. When you post your resume online, use your real name. However, if you decide to dance drunk with a lampshade on your head (it happens) puh-leeze use a code name. What?! You don’t think that people still dance drunk with lampshades on their head? Check out the video below, non-believer.
Oh yeah, if you were a Recruiter, wouldn’t these guys be on the top of your list? But I digress…
Use your “codename” for your Facebook profile but not on your Linkedin profile. Your codename should be well-known by pals and party-goers, but not too prospective employees. Get it? Here are a few codenames to consider (just in case you are having writer’s block).
- Keyzer Soze
- Samurai Mugen
- La Femme Nikita
Why did I suggest those? They are vague enough to the general public so as to seem unique, but popular enough online so that if a Recruiter did discover your codename, they would have to sift through tons of irrelevant data and (most likely) give up on trying to unlock your secret life as a lampshade dancer. Make sense?
Of all the options presented, I would go with option C and remove anything damaging (as much as I could), then going forward I would tell all of my pals to connect to my new Facebook page (under my new alias) so I can talk freely.
So, who would win in a fight between Google and The Incredible Hulk (or rather, Google vs David Banner)? It all depends on how well David Banner covered his tracks. (Smile)
– Jim Stroud
P.S. Get extra cool points if you can figure out my “codename” and what I do in my secret life. (wink-wink)