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Back into my customary curmudgeon role for a minute:
Dinna be too certain o' tha', as my Scottish ancestors might have said. I believe that using things like Google and Facebook searches will become more common in the future. I think negative criteria hiring calculations will become the norm. Companies are doing everything they can to trim the work force to reduce personnel budgets, and I see no reason to believe that trend will not continue. There will be even more offshoring and hiring of H1B visa workers in the future, because for a few years yet that will be, in a lot of cases, less expensive than hiring an American. This gives companies a lot of incentive to find something about you they dislike enough to say it's reason to not hire you.
I think companies are going to get more and more nitpicking. Things like Google and Facebook make it quicker and easier to find *some* reason to turn down an applicant and then have justification (or at least rationalization) to hire someone overseas at lower rates.
Hiring deciders are just as human as anyone else. They too are sometimes lazy and/or not quite all there. Some of them WILL claim - and sometimes even actually believe - that doing a search for you on Google constitutes due diligence and all necessary consideration on their part.
Remember that a lot of the things that people put on Facebook and other social networking sites will elicit visceral, personal reactions from the person making the hiring decision. And those are the reactions that are most corrosive to your chance of getting hired because they can't be dealt with logically. You can't overcome them with good samples or impressive answers in a phone interview. You'll probably never even know they are part of the equation, because no old stodgy hiring decider is going to tell you that he's having second thoughts about you because he read your Facebook entry on entering the Marilyn Manson lookalike contest at the Fallout LARP convention. The only way for those interfering reactions to be overcome is for the person feeling them to decide they are irrelevant. What are the odds of someone convincing himself that his gut feelings are irrelevant? And are you willing gamble at those odds on getting a job you need?
--- On Wed, 7/8/09, Boudreaux, Madelyn (GE Healthcare, consultant) <MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com> wrote:
> As for searching on Google for hiring ammo, I think that's
> going to lose
> its edge in the next few years. The long arm of the search
> engine will
> find everything anyone has ever done. At some point, people
> will just
> accept that yes, every single person they want to hire has
> gotten drunk,
> had a questionable photo taken, played hooky from work,
> flounced, been a pompous ass on a list, cross-dressed,
> liked Marilyn
> Manson, publicly supported a politician who went on to have
> an affair,
> or been active on a D&D community when they were 15,
> and that absolutely
> none of this has any affect on whether or not they can do
> the job. (As
> for myself, every "questionable" activity I am involved
> with is ON my
> resume. No one interviews me without knowing I'm active in
> the goth
> community and roller derby and NPR and so on, and if that's
> going to be
> an issue, it's not going to be a good fit anyway. And so
> far, I can't
> say it's been a problem, even in Utah.)
> - Madelyn
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