Until recently, it was our practice at Evers Legal to stick with traditional background and reference checks. We did not Google our candidates before presenting them to clients. We felt, honestly, that we’d rather not know how they spend their limited amount of personal time. It’s none of our business.
Then, as you may suspect of the direction this story is leading, we ended up with a bit of egg on our faces. Without getting into the details, suffice it to say, one of our clients discovered some online information about a candidate we had presented for consideration—and it wasn’t pretty.
While we may prefer not playing Big Brother straight out of George Orwell’s classic, the reality is: If we’re presenting a candidate to a client, we need to know everything that is “out there” about that person.
Not surprisingly, Evers Legal isn’t alone on this front. In fact, we’ve now joined part of the majority. According an op-ed by Susan P. Joyce, president of Netability, in the Huffington Post, “80 percent of employers Google job seekers before inviting them to an interview!”
But we won’t be stopping our search on a Google results page. If you’re on Facebook, we will dig as far as your privacy setting will allow. If you’re blogging, we will read it thoroughly. If you tweet, we’ll be following.
The stakes are high when it comes to hiring GCs and other senior-level in-house lawyers. Companies want as much information as possible, and we need to provide it to them.
Our recommendation: Stay aware of your online image. If there is anything out there that may interfere with your chances of a promotion or landing a new job, do your best to remove or hide it now. Regularly “Google” yourself and if your image is in need of an overhaul, then start the process.
The game is on, and we’re all learning the rules fast. But remember, what happens online, usually stays online.