What Does Google Say About You?


GoogleA logical place for recruiters to search for information online about candidates is Google. It’s one of the largest search engines on the Internet. So, when recruiters search for you, what will they see? Good stuff? Bad stuff? Nothing? Find out what your search results are saying about you:


If you are not present on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, recruiters will never see you at all. That means you could miss out on job opportunities as a result. A Google search will show results for your name from these different social media sites, but, of course, if you haven’t completed a profile, you are invisible to recruiters.

Negative Press

You may be present on different social media sites, but if the information there is negative, you are in a worse position than if there were no information at all. A sloppy profile filled with typos is negative press for you. And, if you have responded with a comment to a video or article from a periodical with profanity or other negative information, this can show up on Google as well and hurt your professional image.

Great Press

If you have been intentional about your online presence, what Google says about you can give recruiters a reason to take a second look at you.

Here are some pointers on what you can do to enhance your online presence:

  • Google yourself to see what comes up. You need to see what recruiters will see when they search for you. That way you can make any needed adjustments to your online presence. 
  • Take charge of your ZoomInfo profile. ZoomInfo is a site that automatically collects data about people online from different sources on the Internet. Sometimes there will be erroneous information on ZoomInfo under your name because the site confused you with someone else with the same name. Also, there may be information that is omitted about you that should be included. You can go to ZoomInfo for free and claim your name and correct any mistakes there may be. You can also post your picture to your profile if you choose to.
  • Create profiles on social media sites for visibility. LinkedIn is the most popular site for professionals, and there are hundreds of thousands of recruiters on LinkedIn searching for candidates. Make sure your profile is complete and it represents you well.

If you follow these tips, then you will have Google singing your praises.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cheryl Palmer

Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed., CPRW is a career coach and certified professional resume writer. She is the founder of Call to Career, a career coaching firm.


  1. Shauna McGee Kinney

    There are plenty of data aggregators out there that will surprise you with what they find. Here are two that have scraped information from public records and even matched that to social media or online pages.

    While I believe you should check your own name, I have to wonder if there is any safety in numbers and that being a leaf in a tree is better than an online celebrity?

    The fact that I might have owned my own business (registered with the Small Business Administration and Dun & Bradstreet – 658000 small businesses in my state during my most successful years) and been divorced and remarried (35%-43% of people in my demographic fit this trend) might not matter to a majority of the employers? And, when I do apply for a job that requires a background check, that data is verified through reliable sources.

    I agree that we should take charge of our data. Where possible remove some data or request the data be removed. In other cases, own up to the online info. It’s OK to be right :: It’s OK to be wrong. What we sometimes forget when assessing ourselves and others.

  2. Cheryl,

    You raise some important points, but you have one error. If you do not use social media, you can most certainly appear in a Google search. For example, if you search for me you will find hundreds of references to articles in which I am quoted, and to different episodes of my radio show, but I don’t believe you’ll find any references to Facebook or Twitter (except for the fact that I actually have those accounts). You will find two references to LinkedIn, both linking to my profile. (Of course, my profile means nothing since I’m the one who posted it. For a recruiter or employer, as long as there is no contradiction between a LinkedIn profile and a candidate’s resume, it’s irrelevant, except as an on-line business card – which, I believe, is your point.)

    For example, if a candidate received an award, authored a public document (a book, article or report), was quoted in the press, was mentioned as a participant in an event, all these things will appear in a Google search. Blog postings will also appear. (Case in point, in a few hours, I will get an e-mail from Google Alerts mentioning this post.) Many positives will appear on a Google search which have nothing to do with social media.

    Of course, negatives will also appear. I’m not referring here to the obvious, if a candidate was involved in a scandal. Anyone can write anything they want on their website or a blog about a candidate. It may raise a question or two during an interview, so candidates must be aware of their Internet presence. This means, first and foremost, removing anything foolish that they have posted on the Internet themselves, cleaning up, as you noted, typos from their LinkedIn profile, and other sites (removing inappropriate photos from Facebook and silly Tweets from Twitter). But they must be aware of negative things that others have posted about them so as to be able to explain and dismiss them.

    If someone has criticized a candidate, the candidate should not be too concerned. If you do something in public (write a blog posting), you have to be prepared for someone to criticize you in public. It’s called “paying your dues.” It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. In fact, it’s a compliment. Someone thought that your posting was worth commenting on. If someone just doesn’t like you, and chooses to attack you for not apparent reason, that can be a badge of honor, if you know how to present it in an interview.

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