Posted January 29, 2010 10:44 am by with 15 comments

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A new study commissioned by Microsoft is about, of all things, googling yourself. I guess that if someone had used the phrase “binging yourself” there may be laws about that in many states but the irony of this is not lost on me. At any rate, the study shows that there aren’t as many people keeping an eye on what their personal online reputation looks like. Consider the people who are googling other people as a part of their job (ie. human resources types) this could be something that comes back to bite you.

Search Engine Land gives us some of the background

The numbers come from a December survey commissioned by Microsoft on the subject of online reputations. The survey polled about 2,500 consumers and recruiting personnel in the US, UK, Germany and France, and was just released to coincide with today’s International Data Privacy Day.

The chart below says that 42% of the people in the US have googled themselves or looked up their online information using a search engine.

If you would like to get the study it can be found on the Microsoft site.

Either people in Germany and France are more online reputation monitoring savvy or more paranoid but they seem to get the concept more so than the US and the UK.

So what are the pitfalls of not googling yourself on a regular basis (please keep the wisecracks to a minimum)? Ask an HR professional. If you are in the US they are paying very close attention to what is online about you and it can have dire consequences for job hunters.

While those of us in the US may not be Googling ourselves, the Human Resources industry is picking up the slack. According to the survey, 79 percent of US hiring personnel say they review online information about job applicants, and 70 percent admit to rejecting candidates based on what they’ve found. Those numbers drop dramatically for each of the other countries surveyed, with France the most different: Only 23% of recruiters there review online information, and only 14% have rejected candidates.

In addition to search engines which the study showed is the most popular way for HR types to learn about you the are also paying attention to social networking sites, photo and video sharing sites and professional / business networking sites.

One thing to note for you folks who suffer from having a common name that it seems like millions of others do. If you think that you can hide behind the fact that there are a lot of people with the same name all anyone needs to do is add a small qualifier to see just who you really are. I looked at just “Frank Reed” v “Frank Reed internet” and the results are quite different as they are much more directed at me. Any savvy HR searcher is not going to just look at your name and feel like they have done their due diligence.

It’s pretty simple; be careful with what you put ANYWHERE online. We hear that a lot but everyday the reports of ‘stupid human tricks online’ grow. Remember that according to some of the more influential people in this space like Google’s Eric Schmidt and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg privacy is not something to be expected anymore. If you are not monitoring this yourself it’s your fault if you get caught not Google’s.