Even those with a human resources master’s degree can be sidetracked by the amazing amount of information available concerning individual job candidates – found on the Internet. Not only will a simple Google search usually provide multiple pages of personal data, the well-traveled sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can keep a hiring manager busy all day. Unfortunately, if someone looks for red flags, they’ll find them, and some good people may slip away.

Email Addresses
Before the advent of email, everyone was either Mr., Mrs., or Ms. Now, there are lots of cute and funny email addresses, but some make the job seeker sound silly and unprofessional. Many hiring professionals would just not want to email  “megasloppypartydude,” and ask him to come in for an interview. Like many others, that guy probably had that address since college, and even though he might have been an excellent prospect, that email address probably, caused him to be crossed off the list quickly.

Facebook Fun
Before the Internet and the widespread use of digital cameras, stupid things one did in the bar usually stayed in the bar. With quality cell phone cameras, every not-so-intelligent thing that a job candidate does on his or her birthday can easily be visible to the world on Facebook  If a recruiter sees a drunken orgy depicted on Facebook with the potential candidate as the star performer, that resume may be placed in the rejected pile.

Twitter
Even celebrities with publicists and politicians who should know better have blurted out coarse and thoughtless comments on Twitter. Furthermore, a human resource manager with a master’s degree has even been known to whip off a 140 character message that they wish could be retracted. If a hiring manager finds anything questionable on Twitter, they may think twice about proceeding in the hiring process.

Google
If a candidate has ever been sued; this will show up in a simple search. While in the past, this kind of information was considered personal business, it’s now out in the open. Even if a lawsuit filed against a potential hire was frivolous, it can still taint the candidate in the eyes of the recruiter.  Under this also falls the access to databases of known sex offenders and warrants for arrest.  You can also use the internet to verify information. You can do quick searches to determine the school that a candidate attended as well as the location of previous employers and contact info.  It’s almost as if there is too much to know about someone! Don’t let your findings deter you; depending on the job position, some of the things you might uncover on the search for information can be discarded and the candidate does not have to know that you know these things.

Credit
Although this is a controversial process, those in human resources often access the credit reports of job applicants. If only a credit score is checked, the recruiter receives no information in regards to the reasons behind it. If a full credit report is ordered, the hiring manager still needs to interpret the data, and the candidate is not able to refute or explain anything unless they’re asked to. Lots of misconceptions can occur, and good candidates with reasonable explanations concerning their credit troubles can be disregarded.

The Internet is a great tool for hiring managers, but any information garnered from the web should be carefully analyzed and balanced. A call to the candidate should be made to clear up any concerns and discrepancies. Good candidates should not be dismissed because of a couple of questionable Internet search results.

This week’s guest blog post is brought to you by Vera Mosely. She has her masters in HR and has been working in the field for about a year now. She enjoys working in Phoenix, Arizona and meeting great people.