Googling Employees: Why Your Online Reputation Matters
According to a study by Microsoft,70% of employers (in the United States) rejected potential employees because of information found out about them online. Interestingly, the numbers are much less in other countries (41% in the UK, 16% in Germany, and 14% in France)
However, fewer than 15% of people believe their online information will matter in getting hired.
The study was “conducted with 2,500 consumers, HR managers and recruitment professionals in the US, UK, Germany and France.”
According to the study:
In the United States, 89% of recruiters and HR professionals surveyed find it appropriate to consider professional online data when assessing a candidate; 84% of them think it is proper to consider personal data posted online.
As I have indicated previously, most employers who use information they find online about job candidates lack a policy for doing so fairly and ethically (and sometimes legally). Should prospective employees be told when their employers google them? Should they have a right to respond? What procedures are in place to ensure that the information found online in fact relates to the job candidate and not another person with the same name? Is any distinction made between information that a person voluntarily posts and information others post about them? Are any steps taken to make sure the information is true and not a spurious rumor? What boundaries are there for online searching? Improperly gaining access to a person’s profile on Facebook, for example, could be a violation of law depending upon how it is done.
The Microsoft study is available here. This data is much more extensive than what I found when I was doing research for The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. I didn’t have much by way of statistics back in 2007, but I discussed a few interesting anecdotes in Chapter 2.
Below is a chart from the study listing the kinds of information employers found most discrediting.
Hat tip: Adjunct Law Prof Blog