In the case study “We Googled You”, the hiring manager must take a pragmatic approach to the situation. The reality is that it is not difficult to uncover online information that could call a candidate into question. Fred needs to sit down with the HR professional, gaining agreement to bring Mimi back into the office to discuss the situation. This is a solid first step to understanding Mimi’s current position, and will give Fred the benefit of seeing how Mimi handles a difficult situation.
If Mimi’s position hasn’t changed, then Fred must consider this in assessing her viability as a candidate for the position. If her views have changed and Fred feels she is a finalist candidate for the position, Mimi will have the opportunity to update her position in online forums, to avoid negative press that may arise if she is named to the position. There are very likely many other well-qualified candidates for the position; Fred needs to consider them as well – even if only as a point of reference for assessing Mimi’s candidacy.
Fred needs to tap HR for support in vetting those candidates and bringing them in for interviews. If Hathaway Jones wants to meet with success in their flagship store in China, Fred needs to offer the position to most qualified candidate, instead of ‘settling’ for the candidate with the best connections. John Palfrey, Jr. There is no reason to fear bringing Mimi in based on the results of a Google search based on the legal advice of Palfrey. An issue would arise only if Hathaway Jones unfairly discriminated against Mimi.
I agree with Palfrey’s thoughts – hiring standards may have to be reassessed; otherwise, companies may lose out on strong candidates by focusing too much on an individual’s online presence, without checks and balances. Bringing Mimi in to offer her perspective is the right first step in assessing the situation and its impact on her candidacy. It is important not to rushing to judgment.
Jeffrey Joerres Joerres brings up several highly relevant points – although most of them do not relate to the online information found by the HR VP. To me, the two most concerning are 1) the point relating to Mimi’s ability to work within he Chinese culture effectively and 2) that former employers describe her as brash and opinionated. As a hiring manager, both would cause concern. Joerres’ suggestion that potential candidates do their own online search is a relevant recommendation appropriate to any situation. Danah Boyd Boyd brings the youthful perspective to the case, with the idea that companies will lose out on the brightest minds of the generation unless they are willing to take risks in hiring individuals with well-publicized online personalities. While this may be true to an extent, that idea should be taken with a measure of perspective.
Given two similarly qualified candidates in a challenging job market, the job will go to the candidate without the questionable online background. It is important to bring up ques-tionable online background information available, proactively addressing it with a potential employer. Michael Fertik The fact that the online articles found in newspapers are difficult to ‘remove’ from the internet is cause for concern, according to Fertik. In this situation, best bet is to handle the situation in online forums, as recommended by Fertik.