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Beware Your Online Presence 677

Posted by Zonk
from the watch-what-you-put-out-there dept.
Mz6 wrote to mention an article in the NY Daily News stating that an increasing number of employers are Googling their prospective employees during the interview/hiring process. From the article: "'A friend of mine posted a picture of me on My Space with my eyes half closed and a caption that suggests I've smoked something illegal,' says Kluttz. While the caption was a joke, Kluttz now wonders whether the past two employers she interviewed with thought it was so funny. Both expressed interest in hiring Kluttz, but at the 11th hour went with someone else."
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Beware Your Online Presence

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:22PM (#14953857)
    Don't use MySpace. Trust me, we'll all be better off when that fad has passed.
  • RTFA! (Score:5, Funny)

    by XanC (644172) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:24PM (#14953865)
    ...oh. There isn't one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:24PM (#14953867)
    He sounds a little paranoid, everybody gets passed over for jobs once in a while. Submit your resume elsewhere, life goes on.
    • I don't think so. (Score:4, Informative)

      by babbling (952366) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:45PM (#14953982)
      Not entirely paranoid. I thought it was a well-known fact that employers Googled people when considering hiring them. I keep this in mind whenever I post anything that links me to my real name, though.
    • Employers have often done background checks on applicants. In the old days the hiring manager might ask around, call up a friend who works at the applicant's previous place to get another perspective than what their references were saying. It was also possible to go to the library and search periodicals, find out if the person's ever been arrested, check their claimed schools to see if they really graduated, and so forth. Internet searching has certainly made it easier to find out about people but the pr
      • by ensignyu (417022) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @08:45PM (#14954455)
        At least with government records, there's a certain amount of reliability associated with them. Also, if you have a date-of-birth or city or anything to narrow things down, you're less likely to confuse two people with the same name.

        On the other hand, suppose you've been good about keeping your name off the web, but there's another person with the same name who has a bad reputation. How's the employer going to know that it's not really you, if there's not enough details to disprove it?

        So background checks are one thing; using Google is completely different in terms of reliability.
    • by PygmySurfer (442860) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:36PM (#14954223)
      He's a she.
  • Simple to avoid. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by babbling (952366) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:24PM (#14953868)
    I think this is made out to be more of a big deal than it really is. It's quite simple to prevent this from happening to you. Post "good stuff" under your real name, perhaps linked to a professional-sounding alias, and post other crap under another alias that you never link to your real name.
    • by Sancho (17056) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:28PM (#14953887) Homepage
      It might not be that easy, since OTHER PEOPLE (a friend) could post that about him without posting it under some other handle.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:34PM (#14953921)
      Sorry, but I think this is a big deal. If I had known in 1990 that all my postings to Usenet would be publicly available many years after the fact, I might have thought twice before posting some of the articles I did, but now there are some postings from me around, that I am ashamed of 16 years later.

      I am pretty sure, I am not the only one this has happened to.
    • by GuyMannDude (574364) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:06PM (#14954082) Journal

      It's quite simple to prevent this from happening to you. Post "good stuff" under your real name, perhaps linked to a professional-sounding alias, and post other crap under another alias that you never link to your real name.

      As others have already pointed out, it's difficult to make sure that every person in the world who has a photo of you won't post something that isn't very flattering. But even ignoring that for the moment, what consistutes "good stuff" in your mind is likely to change. Suppose you are a first-year student in grad school and you post something under your real name stating that your dream is to become a professor. Very noble, very "good stuff". Fast-forward several grueling years when you are burned out. Your goals have changed and academia doesn't sound so great. You start interviewing for companies and tell them during the interview that you have a strong interest in tackling today's technical problems.

      After you leave, the people you interviewed with start googling around to see what they can dig up on you and come across this thing you wrote many years earlier. Now there's doubt in their mind. Are you looking at an industrial position because you didn't get a postdoc? Are you just looking to make some big bucks in the private sector for five years before returning to what you love -- academia? Maybe I trust you and realize that your priorities have changed. How do I know they won't change back? You wrote so eloquently about the fact that your life-long dream was to become a professor a few years ago. How much do I want to bet that you won't dream this way again?

      And what about posting your politicial, philosophical, or personal beliefs on the web? You write a well-thought-out essay about a woman's right to choose and your pro-life potential-employer finds it. You may think that's "good stuff" but your employer sure doesn't. You're making this way too simple. The article brings up a very good point. You are unwise to dismiss it as "someone else's problem" so easily, my friend.

      GMD

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @08:16PM (#14954374)

        I've been arguing for a long time that completely free and effectively unaccountable speech on-line, particularly when made anonymously, is not necessarily a good thing, and on balance it may do a lot more harm than good. The principled people tend to shout/mod me down, but on this one I think it's the pragmatic view: freedom of speech is not an absolute right, and with that freedom when it does exist must come responsibility for what is spoken. As long as anyone can post anything about anyone on-line without so much as offering any right of reply, never mind (in practice) being subject to the usual legal comebacks in more serious cases, there will be abuses, and the consequences can be very serious, even life-changing. You can argue that the Internet is not a reliable source of information and people shouldn't trust random information for important decisions as much as you like, but in practice it will always cause problems, as we see here.

        I've also argued for a long time that archiving of everything on an opt-out basis, as with things like the Wayback Machine and Google Groups, is not necessarily as much in the public interest as the advocates would have us believe. Again, while there is clearly merit in having a record of the general state of the world and useful content that might otherwise be lost, there is also scope for a lot of abuse. Perhaps more seriously, there can be a lot of accidental damage, maybe due to out-of-date information being assumed to be current, maybe because information that was never correct was posted at some stage and later retracted, but the archive didn't pick up the later correction. Of course, it would be best if some information were never on-line in the first place -- quite a lot of it, these days (ask the CIA ;-)) -- and archives that help themselves to content without permission exacerbate this problem, too.

        I suspect that in the long run, the abuses will become so great that the fundamental nature of the Internet will have to change. Anonymity will simply not be allowed, with countries not prepared to play along being excluded from the network. Archiving will have to become opt-in. Cross-border regulation will be created to enable people to defend their reputations much more straightforwardly than is the case at present.

        It's a shame, but the simple truth is that while the unregulated nature of the Internet has been an advantage in developing it, it has also led to serious problems that, at current rates, will bring about its demise just as fast. I'd rather accept putting my name to my words and standing by my comments than the continued and increasing presence of viruses, spam e-mails, phishing, websites offering incorrect (sometimes dangerously so) information, major crimes like fraud and identity theft being carried out behind the Internet's shield of anonymity, sickos distributing kiddie porn, and all the rest of it. Ultimately, you're never really anonymous on-line anyway, it's just a lot of effort to work out who you. Why continue with the delusion when it does this much damage?

        • by penguin-collective (932038) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @09:59PM (#14954660)
          I've been arguing for a long time that completely free and effectively unaccountable speech on-line, particularly when made anonymously, is not necessarily a good thing,

          Whether it's a "good thing" is completely irrelevant: there simply is no reasonable way of preventing unaccountable speech from happening in a free society. This isn't even a new thing, it's been true since long before the Internet.

          I'd rather accept putting my name to my words and standing by my comments than the continued and increasing presence of viruses, [...]

          That's simply not the choice we face. The choice we face is the kind of world you are advocating, a fascist, totalitarian world in which ordinary citizens are deprived of the ability to discuss controversial issues freely and openly, but in which viruses, propaganda, manipulation, and crime continue to thrive, and the status quo, a messy mix of anonymous speech and accountability.

          The day people like you win the argument will be the end for democracy. It will probably happen sooner or later (as it has in many other kinds of democracies), but I hope I won't be around to have to endure the consequences.
          • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:31AM (#14955040)
            Whether it's a "good thing" is completely irrelevant: there simply is no reasonable way of preventing unaccountable speech from happening in a free society.

            But you most certainly can't speak in public without being held accountable, since normally anyone can see who you are.

            The choice we face is the kind of world you are advocating, a fascist, totalitarian world in which ordinary citizens are deprived of the ability to discuss controversial issues freely and openly, but in which viruses, propaganda, manipulation, and crime continue to thrive, and the status quo, a messy mix of anonymous speech and accountability.

            You miss my point entirely. In general, I am heavily pro-civil-liberties. In this case, however, the "liberty" is illusory, and I think the price is too high to pay for a pretend benefit. There isn't really any anonymity on the Internet; there never has been. It's just a matter of how much effort is required to track you down.

            Moreover, I don't know where you get the idea that holding people accountable for their actions is somehow fascist and totalitarian, but apparently you need to go back and study politics from the beginning again to learn what the long words mean. Indeed, holding people accountable for their actions seems to be one of the hallmarks of civilised society, and the foundation of every legal system in the modern world. Why do you think the Internet should be available as a tool for those who would seek to circumvent the normal rule of law?

            Society will be much better if we discuss controversial issues freely and openly, rather than in secretive groups behind closed doors. That is what ultimately leads to many of the problems society has faced historically, and continues to face today. And people should support the causes they believe in, loudly and vocally, so their voice actually counts for more than an anonymous mark contributing to a tally in some so-called representative's log book.

            All this messing around with pseudo-anonymity doesn't really help: the few people in the world who might benefit in theory, and who are often mentioned by advocates of on-line anonymity around these parts, rarely have the freedom to speak freely that those advocates think they do anyway. Meanwhile, several of the most damaging crimes that exist today are increasing dramatically in frequency, thanks to the shield provided by the Internet and in particular its international scope.

            Would you claim that any state that has a police force to enforce the collective will of the people, as expressed through a reasonably representative political system, is totalitarian and fascist? If not, why do you think the Internet should remain essentially outside the law?

            The day people like you win the argument will be the end for democracy.

            On the contrary. Democracy is already dying, courtesy of Bush, Blair, and their ilk. The only way to restore the balance of power to the people of their countries is to conduct genuinely open debate among the people, to have them inform and educate their peers where they can, and to promote an honest an exchange of views. That'll never happen until people who care have the courage to put their name to what they believe in, no matter how many almost-anonymous posts they make on the Internet.

            • But you most certainly can't speak in public without being held accountable, since normally anyone can see who you are.

              Of course, you can; people do it all the time. You can also make contributions to newspapers under false names, you can hire people to speak for you, you can distribute pamphlets, and you have lots of other choices. And the people who have done the best traditionally at circumventing anti-anonymity provisions are the government, the rich and powerful, and criminals. When you prohibit ano
    • Re:Simple to avoid. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by the real chahn (727189) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:10PM (#14954093)
      There's a significant problem you're ignoring, namely when other people share the same name as you. My name is not extremely common, but a Google search on my name comes up with a lot of stuff that isn't me and could be very harmful to my reputation if it were. Even worse, the other person with my name is about the same age as I am, at least as far as I can tell from the pictures, so it's quite plausible that a potential employer could think that was me.
      • You think that's bad? I share my name with a US senator! :o)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:25PM (#14953869)
    Would /you/ hire someone named "Kluttz"?
  • "wrote to mention" (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:26PM (#14953872)
    I'm glad Mz6 "wrote to mention" an article. Next time it would be helpful if he provided a link to go with the mention.
  • Perhaps (the) Kluttz didn't relize it was a job handling delicate situations?
  • by sH4RD (749216)
    Now, I don't know much here, but just because information is publicly out there doesn't mean a potential employer could legally look at it right? I mean, just because someone writes something on *the internet* doesn't mean it's true. Don't employers have to check their sources? Or is that left up to them, it is in their interests to double check facts -- either good or bad.
  • It has been know for years this is common practice. Assume anything sent electronically can be read by someone else and will NEVER be taken off the web. email isn't privledged by lawyers and clients, so why would you assume that posting on myspace would be?

    Only post things online with anonymity you are worried that could come back to haunt you.
  • In holland there was one politician who, way time back, asked how to break a laptop-password on a usegroup. Name and e-mail address all written down for eternity on google groups. Didn't want to say how he 'found' the laptop. Oops!

    Test it yourself before you start applying! Just look on google with your e-mail address and your name in various combinations, to see what you can find about yourself, and be sure your employer will find the same. So change what you can change, and for the things you can't chan

  • ...anything that you wouldn't want the whole world to know was attributed to you.

    Anyone who googles my name will find out that I'm a hardcore geek. A while back I took pains to remove my last name from all my online presences but it was largely too late. This is hopefully not that bad for jobs, its impact on my dating life is something I wish I could measure however ;)
    • Honestly, I can't see a girl having a great time, then googling you and finding out you're a geek, then going, "Well darn, I found an nice, kind, witty, entertaining and all-around great guy. Too bad he's good with computers". Would you really want to date someone like that?
      • by xiando (770382) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:56PM (#14954029) Homepage Journal
        I know several girls who not only search the web for the name of someone they are considering as a "candidate for marriage" (which is anyone they consider dating) and not only do they do that, they also check the income for previous years which is publicly made available here in the tyrannical covert-government-torturing Norwegian regime. This is not fun to think or write about, but it is a present truth: Girls do (secretly) check your online record AND INCOME. And don't expect them to tell you anything except perhaps "I met someone else". Also, a friend of mine told me that he noticed a printout of his last years taxes lying on the desk in a (rich) girls fathers office and got dumped shortly after.
        • Well then obviously they're doing you a service. They're saving you time in a pointless relationship. Do you want to marry some idiot who only cares about how rich you are? I mean, if someone's only going to marry me for money, or is going to be incredibly stereotyped against geeks, even attractive, personable ones they would otherwise date, I don't want to date them, and I assume you don't either.
        • in the tyrannical covert-government-torturing Norwegian regime

          Hi! I'm in the States. Could you get them to torture our covert government when they're done over there?

  • Who wouldn't? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xiando (770382) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:30PM (#14953898) Homepage Journal
    Think about it. Wouldn't you like to know "as much as possible" about a person you are about to hire? Checking a real name on Google is, from that point of view, almost as natural as calling former employers to find out how you performed there (and why you quit). The "trick" is basically to use a alias when posting "stoned-looking" pictures.. It's easy to do a search for the name on the application, it's much harder to find out what the person applying actually has done online if he/she only use aliases and fake names (and other e-mail address than the one used on the application). Oh btw, unless it's obvious, a "home page" where you brag about law violations, drug use and tell the world that you have a political view that's likely to be viewed as "not very politically correct" also don't help you much..
    • I Wouldn't (Score:4, Insightful)

      Think about it. Wouldn't you like to know "as much as possible" about a person you are about to hire?

      Not really.

      If I was an employer, only two things would really concern me. One, the candidates competance and skill at performing the required labour, and two, the amount of compensation the candidate was willing to perform the labour for.

      I really don't care if; you go out every night goofing off with your buddies, have a myspace account with silly pictures, vote for another political party, have an unusual sexual orientation, are religious, have extra curricular activities, can sing or dance, eat parsnips, use black pens, build rockets, watch anime etc, etc, etc....

      As long as you can do the job you get paid to do, there isn't a whole lot else that concerns me. Maybe I'd have some limits. Clearly anything untoward done on company time is grounds for dismissal. Probably murdering someone outside office hours would make me think again about having you on company premises. But realistically, I not going to waste my time or money googling you on the internet, and if I found any HR person had done the same, they would quickly find their job vacant.

      And a note to employees, if you work, or are looking to work for a company that does this; leave. Walk away now and never look back. You can do a hell of a lot better. Employment isn't bonded labour. It's about you selling your skills to someone who needs them. Anything else is a waste of your time.
  • by Plug (14127) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:30PM (#14953900) Homepage
    The article is at http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/401069p-339 405c.html [nydailynews.com].

    (Persons googling for me can now see what a helpful individual I am! ;)
  • by beowulfy (897757) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:32PM (#14953907) Homepage
    I used to post all the pictures of myself smoking crack and heroin with captions listing my full legal name and social security number. But then I read on article that said that might not be so hot if your looking for a job. So I wised up and posted the pictures under the alias: uber-rocksmokeerdood69woot! No problems so far! hope this helps....
  • Here [nydailynews.com]
  • This ain't news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zspdude (531908) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:34PM (#14953916) Homepage
    There's nothing especially wrong or insidious about googling a prospective employee. I'd do it.

    The larger problem is that not everyone realizes that the internet is *public*, not private, and that what you post online has the potential to stay around for a very long time.

    If you don't want it googled, don't put it up. If your friend puts it up, tell them to take it down.

    On the other hand, any employer who would refuse to hire someone based off of humorous content in a blog or on a personal webpage (or even due to radical political/religious views) is probably ignoring a large pool of good employees. A smart employer will realize that even clever, hardworking people look stoned sometimes.
  • Very True (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:34PM (#14953918) Homepage
    As the webmaster of NoJailForPot.com [nojailforpot.com], I have had a number of people ask me to remove their names for exactly this reason (which after verification of identity, I always do). The interesting thing about a lot of people who believe society would be better off with decriminalization of marijuana, many like myself don't even smoke pot...

    (by the way, yes I know the html sucks, we're working on a new site that has fully valid code...)

  • Passive Anonymity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Y-Crate (540566) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:35PM (#14953923)
    When I search my real name on Google, I'm continually amazed at how horribly out of date and esoteric the information is.

    Any employers will find that I had an interest in fixing an .fstab file on a LinuxPPC installation 6 years ago, I was vehemently anti-Windows at least as far back as 1999 and I used to watch Babylon 5 rather religiously during its original run. Since then I've stopped using my real name outside of personal communications because I saw that just this sort of thing would become a problem in the years to come.

    I'm a firm believer in passive anonymity. I won't go to great lengths to hide who I really am, and have no problem with people I'm conversing with knowing my real name, but I make sure that any comments of mine end up archived under a pseudonym. Considering HR people are looking for applicants with 15 years of experience in Windows XP, I don't really trust them to do the mental math necessary to establish that the questionable rant of mine from 1995 they've taken issue with, was posted by me while I was still in middle school.
  • Now is there any chance you could actually post a link to the article?
  • by rimu guy (665008) * on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:38PM (#14953943) Homepage

    On the other hand...

    I recently hired two guys based primarily on their online presence.

    I was looking for a couple of people to do support. Both of them applied. I googled them. They both had blogs. Their blogs demonstrated that a) they could write well (their jobs involve providing support via email) b) that they had a bit of personality and c) that they were smart people, passionate about Linux (which is our focus).

    I hired both these guys without ever meeting them face-to-face. Being able to google them, see what projects they've been involved in, get a feel for how they deal with other people (e.g. in mailing list posts, etc) helped me start getting a handle on them. These guys got their jobs over dozens of other candidates who had great resumes, but were 'invisible' on the web.

    --
    We're hiring Linux geeks [rimuhosting.com]

    • by AlXtreme (223728) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:24PM (#14954166) Homepage Journal
      I'll second this. I've had a number of prospective employers read my blog, find my CV and only then contact me to ask if I would be interested in a full-time job. Having a good online presence can be invaluble when finding a job and puts you into a far better negotiating position (they admit they need you, instead of you admitting you need them).

      Having said this, it is a good idea to use aliasses for crap like myspace, political forums and mmorpg's, using your name for these kind of things can only work against you. Just use some common sense.

      And no, I don't need a job, but thanks for the offer ;)

      • Ditto. About once per month I get an email from headhunters for some company or another offering me an interview. They seem to alternate between SMB's / startups and mega-corps. Its nice to know my skill set is still (apparently) attractive. :-)

        I can look at my server logs and see hits for "electrical engineering filetype: pdf" and so on on a weekly basis. I'm sure some of these are from folks looking to scavage and cobble together a resume (.edu domains are a bit of a giveaway), but I'm certain that I got
  • Not likely. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @06:43PM (#14953976) Homepage
    Right.. because MySpace is where potential employers look for information. "Let's see, Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. Jason.. AHA!"

    Or did you put a link to your profile in your resume?

    Here's an idea: If you're wondering why an employer decided not to hire you, you could try asking them instead of Slashdot. I know it's hard to believe, but there might actually be more qualified people applying for the same jobs. It sucks getting passed over, and occasionally there could be illegitimate reasons, but for the most part you win some and you lose some. In the long run, the most productive course of action is probably to just keep looking, and tell your friend to take down the picture if you're paran^h^h^h^h^hconcerned.
  • Lucky Me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by homer_ca (144738) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:08PM (#14954085)
    I don't have an extremely common name, but it's common enough. When I google myself, none of the results on the first page are me. One of them has the same middle initial, and one of them even has a similar bio (birthplace and childhood). Someone might find me if they search my name combined with other associations, but not easily. If I google my name and my university I find another (more recent) student with my name.

    Unless you have a very unique name or you're dumb enough to put your full name in your public myspace profile, you probably don't have a lot to worry about.
  • by Wiseleo (15092) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:12PM (#14954101) Homepage
    I tell my clients to run a Google Groups search for my last name and technology of their choice.

    1000+ articles posted in my area of expertise.

    Google itself links me to some seriously fun stuff. First link just happens to point to my Amazon profile. I consider that as VERY lucky as that's a page I can modify as I see fit.

    Here is you will see when you search for "Knyshov" on Google:

    Amazon.com: Profile For Leonid Knyshov: ReviewsLeonid Knyshov "World-class computer expert" (Fremont, CA USA) (REAL NAME) ... I wish you good health and much prosperity,. Leonid S. Knyshov ...
    www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/ A3P7EVPCSMPGI6?_encoding=UTF8 - 66k - Cached - Similar pages

    Amazon.com: Profile for Leonid KnyshovLeonid S. Knyshov is a computer genius who is typically employed as a Sr. Network Systems Security ... Mr. Knyshov appreciates your time spent reading this. ...
    www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A3P7EVPCSMPGI6 - 43k - Cached - Similar pages
    [ More results from www.amazon.com ]

    A few links below that, however, I am linked to insecure.org which shows my HP-UX exploit from 1997. That can be good or bad. Good - shows that I knew how to find original exploits 9 years ago. Bad - I don't actively advertise that. Overall, I consider that as a good link.

    Then there is a link that connects me to the SF Raves community. That again can be good or bad. Good - I can modify that page as I see fit and it shows that I am not a bookworm. Bad - it links me with nightlife of San Francisco, which may provoke questions about possible recreational drug usage, which I do not do.

    Overall, that's basically the key. If the information you post is good, it definitely enhances credibility. I tell my clients to look for me on the Internet. For some reason, my 1994-2000 newsgroups history is not visible, which is not necessarily a bad thing :-).
    • by DerekLyons (302214)

      I tell my clients to run a Google Groups search for my last name and technology of their choice.

      1000+ articles posted in my area of expertise.

      So? All that means is that you post alot. If I were one of your clients, I'd write you off as what you are - a self important puffer.

      Google itself links me to some seriously fun stuff. First link just happens to point to my Amazon profile. I consider that as VERY lucky as that's a page I can modify as I see fit.

      Certainly it's a page that you can modify as you se

  • by sphix42 (144155) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:14PM (#14954115) Homepage
    http://www.claimid.com/ [claimid.com] Thought up by a couple of ibiblio guys, creating a link resume/profile seems the way to go.
  • by starman97 (29863) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:19PM (#14954140)
    Seems like with a little bit of work, you could set up a blog and
    net presence that would make any employer jump to hire you.
    If course it's all fiction, but with the proper links and all
    you could make it pretty believable.
    Enterprising individuals could do this for you for a fee.

    So for the employers who think they are being so crafty,
    there's a way for the unscrupulous job seeker to keep one step ahead.
  • by topham (32406) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:26PM (#14954172) Homepage

    My girlfriend played Wow and got a little too cozy with another player. With a little bit of Real World knowledge about him I was able to find out quite a bit about him and his immediate family.

    Even dug up a picture that might be of him, she wasn't pleased when I said that as she had never been sent a picture. Seems they weren't that cozy after all.

    I'll leave it up to the reader to determine what one can do with such information.

    In this case i dumped her, and sent him a message in Wow telling him he should feel free to meet up with her. I've got no interest in her now anyway.

    It was rather revealing to toss out information which she knew, but had no idea how I could have found out about. She probably thinks I trolled through all her email, but she seemed really curious as I suspect most of the information passed between them was via Ventrilo (voice chat).

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2006 @11:58PM (#14954952)
      Wow, you're one insecure motherfucker!
    • by Valdrax (32670) on Monday March 20, 2006 @10:53AM (#14957069)
      Dude, you do realize that you overstepped the boundaries of overprotective, jealous boyfriend and went straight into creepy stalker land, right? You tracked down personal information on a person that you feared she might have been interested in, flaunted this in front of her, and then "[left] it up to the reader to determine what one can do with such information."

      Next, "you dumped HER" (I'm really hoping for her sake that this is a lie and she had the sense to dump you), you messaged the other person (who you give no indication of knowing personally) to say that he can have her (leaving the two of the them with a good story about her crazy ex to bond over), and then you post something showing how much you glory in the private information you collected about her behind your back by spying on their conversations.

      I honestly pity any girl that you next set your sights on. Get help. Get serious psychiatric help before you hurt somebody or leave yourself doomed for a serious of failed relationship because you have a serious combination of trust issues, possessiveness, and vindictiveness combined with a lack of empathy to see how your actions would affect another person.

      (Posting AC because the last thing I want is some crazy, vindictive stalker after me.)
  • GOOGLE YOURSELF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_greer2005 (863926) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:35PM (#14954214)
    One of my teachers in college had some really good advice, (within the last year) he said "if you wouldnt buy a house without reviewing your vredit report, you shouldnt look for work without looking for dirt on yourself"

    He said "go to myspace, google. yahoo, MSN, hotjobs, anything that a potential employer may use, and make sure that anything that shows up is accurate"

    If someone online is posting false info on you, then call the service and demand its removal, hire a lawyer if necessary.

  • by staeiou (839695) <staeiou&gmail,com> on Sunday March 19, 2006 @07:48PM (#14954257) Homepage
    If her employers checked her myspace, they most certainly would have not hired her.

    Comments from her myspace [myspace.com]:
    obviously (FTA): "hi, i'm colleen kluttz and i just smoked the. best. weed. everrrrrrr..."
    "Best host ever! I like the part when you shake your boobies."
    "pot brownies, colleen! POT BROWNIES!!!"
    "if you lived here, i would have to quit my job and become a full time hang over nurse."
    "i'd like to report that i just opened my purse at work and found a can of PBR inside. livin' large!!!" - PBR being Paps Blue Ribbon beer by the way
    "chris's eyes = patriotic. stoned white and blue. come visit."


    And the profile picture she picked herself that has her giving the finger to a camera doesn't help either.

    If the incident in question (someone posted a pic of her looking high) was isolated, an employer might overlook it. But these comments suggest a heavy drinker/pot smoker. I personally don't care if someone drinks/smokes weed while not on the job, but these things in conjunction with the attitude that is expressed on her myspace is something more.
  • I have spent quite a bit of time on this issue as I have some experience in this area.

    Without going into details, (but I know the slashdot crowd can find it, just with a whois on my domains) I was once accused of being a VAMPIRE in a court of law.

    Cute, stupid, and it didn't really work for the defendant in the case.

    The media had a blast with it. I was on CNN's legal section... I made "News of the odd" The Fax News, several papers, and Fark.

    The problems began when a local reporter found my personal website, and went hunting. She found a list of "Pagan buttons and bumpersticker" joke that I thought were humorous and posted them out of context in the article.

    Imagine my (very religious) grandmother looking at the paper and finding out that

    1) I was pagan (admittedly, my grandfather who was a preacher knew, but asked that I never tell her)
    2) I was a Vampire (at least according to some people)
    and 3) That I was apparently a fan of throwing Christians to lions! (not true)

    Problem is, it never goes away. Someone will ask about it from time to time, it comes up in interviews, and just in places I never expect it.

    It is somewhat amusing for me... but can you imagine what would happen if someone were to link your name to something really nasty?

    I wrote an article on the need for a "media blackout" type of period in regards to recent child porn arrests, where alledged child porn was found on someones machine by a 3rd party.

    Inevitably the media learns of the situation (happened with a Best Buy tech who was snooping someones machine in Tennessee)and reports a name and the fact of the arrest.

    Whether the individual is guilty or innocent no longer matters at that point. His (or her) name is indelibly linked to "(insert name) arrested on child porn allegations".

    Your life would be OVER.

    Now I think people who deal with that stuff are sick and need help and I am not defending them in any way! But I do think we are not far from a period where people are going to start suing to have their name scrubbed from certain places on the net. Good luck to them, because getting something off the net is like getting pee out of a pool.

    Or was it "Un-ringing a bell"?
  • by xihr (556141) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @08:41PM (#14954442) Homepage
    There really is nowhere near enough evidence to make this conclusion. Employers "express interest" and then change their minds "at the 11th hour" for lots of reasons. That's nowhere near evidence that they did so because of a joke image on your MySpace page.
  • by wramsdel (463149) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @08:51PM (#14954476)
    I mean, with a name like Kluttz, chainsaw juggling, hand grenade handling, and brain surgery may not be for you.
  • by calstraycat (320736) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @10:23PM (#14954721)
    In about ten years, there will be millions of regretful twenty- and thirty-somthings, particularly women. The regret will be tied to two things: pictures on MySpace and tattoos. Both are permanent. Both seem cool/sexy at eighteen and both are neither at thirty.

    I'm thankful that the trends of my youth involved only bad haircuts and cheesy clothing.
  • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday March 19, 2006 @11:00PM (#14954810) Journal
    Not very long ago, I applied for a job doing computer support for a local community college. Everything went well, despite it being a rather "trying" experience, with multiple application forms to fill out, a couple of fairly extensive interviews and a hands-on proficiency test - but in the end, I was verbally offered a position. Then, 2 days later, I got another phone call, informing me that my hiring was being "put on hold" due to some new information that had come to light.

    What happened was, I used to run a very popular computer bulletin board system. Almost 10 years ago, it was seized by the FBI under suspicion of copyright infringements occuring on it. After all of my equipment was held hostage for *2 years*, they decided to drop the whole case and give me everything back. A rather sheepish-faced federal agent actually came by my house after work with his station wagon filled up with all of my CDs, computers, monitors, etc. etc. and dropped it all over in my living room - apologizing for the whole incident (but still making me sign some type of waiver promising to absolve them of all responsibility, so I couldn't sue later). I thought this story was worthy of mention on my web site, since to this day, people occasionally ask me what ever happened to the BBS, etc. etc.

    Well, the college apparently googled my name, found my web site, and read everything on it. (My BBS story wasn't exactly "top level" material on my site, so they had to click through at least 2 levels of menus and read 4 pages about it before they hit that part.) They were concerned about the incident, despite no charges ever being filed - and denied me employment based on it! (Only 2 days after the phone call telling me they were "reconsidering" hiring me, I got the standard rejection form letter in the mail, signed by the very guy I had just spoken to on the phone!)

    Extremely irritating - because while, sure, I could just censor this info - I think it's a story worth telling. And furthermore, I'm not so sure I want to work for an employer who is that paranoid over something that speaks more about government's inefficiency and blundering than my own character.

    But in the end, I was hired as I.T. Supervisor of a business paying considerably more than this community college anyway, so maybe everything happens for a reason after all.
  • by JumperCable (673155) on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:18AM (#14955000)
    Probably the best gift you could give a son or daughter is to give him/her a very common first and last name i.e. John Smith or Jane Smith. Obscurity by information overload seems like the easiest way to protect one's reputation.
  • by mattr (78516) <`moc.ydobelet' `ta' `rttam'> on Monday March 20, 2006 @12:45AM (#14955083) Homepage Journal
    I don't know about other slashdotters but I could have used this maybe when I was first starting out on the Source (forerunner to Compuserve) with my Apple II and Hayes 300 bps modem (you can read the words as they roll in).. But that was 25 years ago. To say this is common knowledge is an understatement. The problem is nobody gets taught this shit in elementary, middle or high school. I've watched what I typed online at way back to BBS days and as a matter of course google myself once in a while. Everyone is googling, so if you don't you are just going to voluntarily lose an edge. What is scary now is the same thing will be happening with video, and worse will come when ubiquitous video gets ubiquitously tagged and stored. We are just at a point in time between back then and that future time. Only big difference is myspace becoming popular among teenagers, ascent of google, and massively litigous society being warped by doublethinking neocons. I think that's all I want to say with this login.
  • But what happens if you have the same name and surname as someone else ?

    Myself, I have a fairly common portuguese name. And to add to this, I wear a
    surname that was very common in the seventies when I was born. So my name is
    quite common.

    In the company I work for example, there are two people with the same name
    as me. And one day, one of my friends told me that a guy with the same family
    name and surname had created a web page repertoring most of us, our location
    and what we did in life !

    So what happens if someone googles for your name and surname and finds
    information and/or posts from someone else than you ?
  • by baudbarf (451398) on Monday March 20, 2006 @03:48AM (#14955499) Homepage
    AWESOME! Now, all I have to do is create a network of websites which make positive reference to me, and how I've saved the lives of hundreds of projects for thousands of companies, how I once single-handedly wrote a program that ended the cold war, and how I have to beat off NASA/Pentagon/Sun Microsystems recruiters with a stick.

    I get the feeling that my next prospective employer will be offering me a less-than-demeaning salary.
  • this is not new (Score:3, Informative)

    by rtphokie (518490) on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:10AM (#14956072)
    This is not new, the media just woke up to it. Probably because of recent controversies over MySpace and Facebook.

    Before there was a web, employeers were searching USENET postings to see what applicants had been up to. The technical newsgroups are the most interesting as they can give some insight into how the person learns and how they might interact with others via email.

    Is the applicant offering help to others? Are they asking questions? Are the questions getting better? A dumb question last year is a good thing as long as it isn't reapeated. A dumb question last week might indicate a problem, especially if it's about something they mention on their resume.

    None of these things are end-all be-all evaluations of the person, especially since they are created over time. But they can give an interviewer some good ideas for questions.
  • It happened to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by caudron (466327) on Monday March 20, 2006 @08:55AM (#14956275) Homepage
    True story:

    I am an independent consultant. CBN (Yes, that CBN) is locally-based. They also have some very interesting and cool tech projects going on. Their IT group (a spin off of CBN called Compass) is working with some great stuff. Anyway, I happened to get a lead on an assignment there that I might be able to fill.

    In the phone interview, I was gold. "You sound like just what we are looking for."

    In the follow up technical phone interview, same thing. "We want you to meet the manager you'll be working with for this project."

    The in-person interview is going great too, until I get this question:

    "Have you ever worked with XSLT and related technologies?"

    To which my dumb ass replied:

    "Sure that's what I've based my blog on."

    And I immediately saw the stupidity of my answer. Why? Because not a week earlier, I was having a discussion with a friend about Christianity's reputation. The result of that conversation is found in an entry on my blog here:

    http://tom.digitalelite.com/2005_08_23_08_01_00.ht ml [digitalelite.com]

    After I mentioned my blog, every one of the interviewers asked for the address. I gave it to them, knowing that entry was still on the front page at the time. I knew it was over. Sure enough, within 6 hours I get the call from HR telling me they needed someone with more c# experience. Hmmm, my c# experience was discussed in two interviews before the in-person interview and wasn't a problem then. Oh well.

    Two things of note about this:

    1) I don't censor my blog. If someone doesn't like the content on the blog, we probably wouldn't have gotten along anyway. It's a sort of self-selecting barrier for people without a sense of humor.

    2) There are plenty of good IT consulting gigs out there. I'm on one right now. Redoing a .com site for a major company. In C#.

    Note that I'm not speaking ill of CBN here. I really don't care one way or the other about them. It must not've been a good fit. No big deal to me. I've heard that that are a great place to do a short-term gig, but it just wasn't the best place for me in the end.
  • by gidds (56397) <slashdot@@@gidds...me...uk> on Monday March 20, 2006 @11:52AM (#14957570) Homepage
    In a recent post [slashdot.org] about Wikipedia and the fuss over its imperfection, I wondered whether the real outcome would be to lessen people's blind faith in all apparently authoritative sources (and rightly so). From which Wikipedia would probably benefit.

    Maybe something similar will eventually operate here? Once more and more personal material becomes available, and people begin to see just how much misleading, mistaken, malicious, and downright false material there is on the web, maybe they'll learn not to take any of it as read.

    Meanwhile, I guess we'll all have to be careful...

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie

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