Careers & Ideas: Employers May Look Up Your Info Online

Have you ever thought about fall-out from your personal profile online? Have you ever thought about who might be looking you up on the Internet? Believe it or not, potential employers have been known to search the names of potential employees on the Internet to find information.

So what kind of information do you have out there? Jason Fry from the Wall Street Journal Online has this:

Last week a story crossed my desk claiming that a quarter of human-resources decision makers had rejected job candidates because of personal information found online.

The survey was conducted by a business social network, so I was skeptical of the numbers and the methodology. (My colleague and fellow Daily Fixer Carl Bialik takes a look here.) But I understand why the survey got a receptive audience. It mines something a lot of people my age find troubling -- the idea that those younger than us are blithely unaware of the consequences of putting details about their personal lives online.

The conventional wisdom is that as those who grew up with the Net get older, they'll pay the price for their youthful indiscretions -- starting when they're trying to get that first job and get Googled by the HR guy. And it'll get worse from there. The members of Generation Exhibitionist will get older and wiser, but they'll never escape from their boozy pictures and angry blog postings and other digital detritus. And eventually they'll realize that they spent their teen years embroidering virtual scarlet letters for themselves that can never removed.

Having a college degree, a solid resume and a great interview should be your primary concerns when looking to get a new job - not your former past (or present) as a Myspace vixen. Just remember that you never know who might want to dig up information on you when it comes to job hunting. The best bet is to keep a low profile.

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