explores the problems jobseekers may face with Digital dirt.
For those unfamiliar with the term, digital dirt is damaging
information about you that can be found online. Digital dirt
can cost you more than just an interview.
Marysville, WA (PRWEB) May 23, 2007 -- "Digital dirt
is becoming a problem for job seekers," says Frank Heasley,
PhD, president and CEO of MedZilla, a leading internet recruitment
and professional community that targets job seekers and HR
professionals in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare
and life sciences. For those unfamiliar with the term, digital
dirt is damaging information about you that can be found online.
It can include photos, personal web sites, blogs, and any
information about your employment or education that does not
match what you put on your resume. "Recruiters and employers
commonly run internet searches on prospective employees to
see if anything embarrassing or illegal comes up. When digital
dirt does turn up, it usually causes the recruiter or employer
to drop the candidate from consideration for the job. In addition
to search engines such as Google, recruiters and hiring managers
also search social networking sites, such as MySpace or Facebook,
to find information about candidates," Heasley says.
Digital dirt can cost you more than just an interview. Information
found on social networking sites like MySpace has caused job
offers to be rescinded, and has led to employees being fired
for things that happened even before their employment began.
In 2005, AAA of Southern California reportedly fired 27 employees
because of messages they posted on MySpace. Celebrities are
also frequently besmirched by digital dirt. Recently, Miss
Nevada USA 2007, Katie Rees, lost her crown and title because
risqué photos taken years before she was crowned came
to light. Photos or text, whether posted by or about you,
can cause problems forever, because just removing them from
one site doesn't guarantee that someone hasn't copied the
material and posted it to another web site. Photos that seemed
hilarious in college or even high school probably will not
amuse a potential employer. Forum posts that seemed innocuous
at the time can be damaging later when the information in
them leads a potential employer to conclude that you're not
the type of person they want representing their company. Even
just the way something is written could turn off a potential
employer. Your profanity could outweigh your profundity.
A recent search of MySpace.com for "pharmaceutical sales"
produced a surprising amount of digital dirt. One young woman,
a pharmaceutical sales representative, announced at the top
of her MySpace page, "I once got busy in a Burger King
bathroom." She went on to list her full name - complete
with both her maiden and married surnames - as well as her
complete date of birth and the city and state in which she
lives. She also included references to sexual activities and
admitted to having shoplifted. When the search was done in
reverse - entering her name into a search engine as a recruiter
might do from a resume - her MySpace page turned up at the
top of the search results. The search also turned up several
other current pharmaceutical sales representatives who listed
their full names and the companies for which they work, as
well as an assortment of indiscretions, illegal acts, tawdry
photos, and proclivities that are better kept private. One
recent college graduate, who requested anonymity, was shocked
to learn that her MySpace page - which contained photos and
posts that most companies would find objectionable - could
be the reason that she has had difficulty even getting a job
interview. "It never occurred to me that anyone would
Google me and see my page. MySpace and Facebook, that's just
something we all do for fun and to meet people and keep in
touch. I never thought someone might not give me a job because
Some job seekers feel that such searches are an invasion of
their privacy. However, when posting private information in
a public place - and there is no place more public than the
internet - you waive any claim to privacy. It's implicit in
posting information on a web site that the information is
going to be seen. That is, after all, the very reason for
posting information online - so that others will see it. "We
advise candidates to not post their information on any site,"
says Larry Cooper, President of Cooper Staffing & Recruiting,
a leading recruiter to the pharmaceutical and medical device
industries. "Photos and some internet posts usually cheapen
a candidate's appearance to the companies."
Photos and blogs aren't the only electronic roadblocks to
finding a job. "We recognized some time ago that it's
easy to make mistakes when using the internet for your job
search. One of the most common is whimsical or downright embarrassing
email addresses," Heasley says. "MedZilla eliminated
that problem, and several related ones, by simply anonymizing
all of our candidates' and employers' email addresses."
Since recruiters are retained by employers to supply them
with high-quality job candidates, they are under pressure
to screen candidates thoroughly to ensure that their business
relationships with client companies won't be tarnished by
candidates who turn out to have digital skeletons in their
closets. "Credibility is very important to my business,"
says Dale Statson, President of Sales Executives, another
search firm specializing in the pharmaceutical and medical
device industries. "I need to do a job successfully for
a client who's paying me a fee. As recruiters, we are in business
to be able to sell a product. So I wouldn't term it 'digital
dirt' - it's a beneficial thing to be able to check out our
candidates, and we're not trying to derail them but to validate
them. Employers want to know details before investing hundreds
of thousands of dollars in a new employee."
How can you find out if there is digital dirt tarnishing your
reputation? The first step is to do what is called 'narcisurfing'.
By entering your name and other identifying information, such
as your alma mater, into a search engine, you can begin find
out whether you have digital dirt and, if so, where it can
be found. Cleaning up the digital dirt can be a bit difficult,
but a good way to start is by removing anything potentially
embarrassing that you have posted to pages that you control,
such as your MySpace page. If the digital dirt is turning
up on someone else's web site, they may be willing to remove
it if asked. The best practice, of course, is to never post
any questionable information online in the first place; however,
if digital dirt is already out there, it should be cleaned
up as much as possible before you start a job search.
Established in mid-1994, MedZilla is the original web site
to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers
in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare.
The MedZilla jobs database contains about 7,500 open positions.
The resume databank currently contains over 267,000 resumes,
16,500 less than three months old. These resources have been
characterized as the largest, most comprehensive databases
of their kind on the web in the industries served.