Be Careful When Writing Online

    October 31, 2006

Because it could cost you your job and it’s definitely true.

These days, Google and the rest of the search engines (eg. Live, Yahoo!, Ask and so on) have become the central location where everyone can find information about anyone or anything:

According to a recent survey by

One in four managers now Google’ potential employees and 51% of applications were rejected because of what was found.

When asked to divulge the types of information discovered on the Web that caused them to dismiss potential employees, hiring managers pointed to the following:

  • 31% – candidate lied about qualifications
  • 25% – candidate had poor communication skills
  • 24% – candidate was linked to criminal behavior
  • 19% – candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
  • 19% – candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs
  • 15% – candidate shared confidential information from previous employers
  • 12% – candidate lied about an absence
  • 11% – candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs
  • 8% – candidate’s screen name was unprofessional

Hiring managers said the following information discovered on the Web helped to confirm their decision to hire a candidate:

  • 64% – candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications for the job
  • 40% – candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests
  • 34% – candidate had great communication skills
  • 31% – candidate’s site conveyed a professional image
  • 31% – got a good feel for the candidate’s personality, could see a good fit within the company culture
  • 23% – other people posted great references about the candidate
  • 23% – candidate was creative
  • 19% – candidate received awards and accolades

I often find myself Googling (for employee, business or general research reasons) e-mail addresses, names, businesses. That’s the case for other employers too. Most of them search your name in the search engines, trying to find online references and discussions, simply because they know how to do it and because they found that this works brilliantly to their advantage. Those online references make his decision about you easier and shed some impartial light on his opinion about you (other than your interview or CV references).

So be careful what you write on the Internet. If your CV states perfect C# programming skills (or Expert Search Marketing Consultant) and your employer finds you on the Internet asking how to install Visual Studio (or how to search inbound links in Google) or swearing and harassing people for no reason (like I do, but at least with solid reasons) that won’t be in your best advantage right ?


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Cristian Mezei is the Founder of Infomarket Network, a web marketing agency
based in Bucharest, specializing in search marketing, social media and usability/accesibility. Cristian shares some of his views in Seopedia, his personal blog.