College Students – You Will Be Googled

That headline is partly speculation on my part, and partly anecdotal based on what my friends, colleagues and I do on a weekly basis. Various statistics have been reported about the percentage of employers who will check reputations online before hiring – I think the publicly reported numbers are all understated. Here’s why.

young-person-interviewA recent survey by Career Builder, which took the pulse of 2,775 hiring managers, indicated that before interviewing or hiring a candidate:

  • 48% will use Google or another search engine to vet candidates
  • 44% will check Facebook
  • 27% will check Twitter

So, you have a better than 50% chance of not being internet-checked? Not so fast.

If you use Google regularly, you probably know where I’m going with this.

If I see a resume that is even remotely interesting, I then start to wonder who the person really is. Well, when I have a question, I turn to Google, so before I devote extra time and effort to setting up and conducting an interview, I’ll do a quick internet check. Similarly, if someone recommends a vendor or business partner to me, I’ll see what information is readily available online before proceeding.

I doubt that real world employers act any differently. Sure, only 40 or 50% of companies may have written recruiting policies that include an internet background check, but I’m fairly confident that a far higher percentage of companies do some form of internet sleuthing.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that this does not apply to entry-level employees. Any time a new hire doesn’t work out, a thoughtful company gives some consideration to what can be improved in the hiring process. The rank and file HR staffer who brought you in for an interview based only on what was on your resume could feel some heat if you turn out to be a party animal who has a habit of not showing up on Monday mornings – a fact that could have easily been gleaned from your Facebook profile or Instagram account.

A reasonable takeaway from this article, for the average college student eyeing the job market, might be to clean up your online footprint in preparation for the work world. Don’t stop at the point of only removing the bad stuff. You can actually increase your chances of being hired if the “online you” looks like someone who would fit in at the type of company where you are likely to pursue a job.

The internet is a great resource. Make sure it casts you in a positive light.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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