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Repairing / Establishing Online Reputation? 564

Posted by kdawson
from the footnote-the-resume dept.
illini1022 writes "I'm currently a senior nearing graduation from college. With studies focusing on power and energy I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment. I have one concern. The top search result on Google for my full name is a blog posting regarding an article about a pedophile that happens to bear the same name as myself. The blog also originates from a city I lived in during one summer (specified on my resume). Upon closer inspection, it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me. The person of interest was in the military, and I have never been. However, I fear this unfortunate coincidence might cost me chances at employment with companies I'm now applying to. I have absolutely no issue with any employer finding anything I've put on the Internet; I have been careful to protect my reputation. My concern is with an employer mistaking me for someone else, and disqualifying me from recruitment. I've attempted to contact the blog owner to no avail. What are my options? Am I overreacting? Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting? I appreciate any insight/advice."
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Repairing / Establishing Online Reputation?

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  • Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:04PM (#26891069)

    Am I overreacting?

    Yes. Any employer worth your time is either a) not going to be doing something as petty as e-stalking you, or b) doing it properly, and making sure that the person is really you.

    • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#26891303)

      I disagree to some extent, it is relatively common for HR to look into those sorts of things quickly. But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

      It's often part of the screening to do to make sure that they're not going to be embarrassed by web information. I don't think the practice will continue into the future, especially in light of the fact that it's going to be increasingly difficult to avoid candidates that are completely clean or non-existent online.

      But honestly, many employers do have a prescreen which would catch both that as well as the lack of a criminal conviction. It would be potentially dangerous legally to use wrong information of that nature in a decision to not hire.

      • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Samschnooks (1415697) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:35PM (#26891669)

        But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

        Let's say you're correct and they do use it. How do you prove it? They can always find a reason not to hire you. My favourite: your skills don't match.

        • Re:Short answer (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dogmatixpsych (786818) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:50PM (#26891961) Homepage Journal
          My philosophy is that if an employer really is looking for petty reasons not to hire you, that's a good sign that they are not the best place for you to work. I want to work at a place where they really want me to work there. I encourage a robust hiring process but if a company is looking for stupid reasons to rule me out, then I'll go find a job somewhere else. Granted, this approach may not always work, depending on the industry, but for me it's a completely reasonable approach.
          • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

            by NinjaCoder (878547) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:16PM (#26892559)
            The OP is a near-graduate. The economy is tanking.

            And your advice is what? If the company's HR monkeys can't do their job properly then the whole company is fucked in the head, and don't deserve him??

            I also graduated in the middle of a downturn; it sucks that zillions of shiny happy ex-students are chasing every opportunity - I totally believe that some HR bod will bin the CV/resume based on a 20 second google, after all there will be another dozen in the file next to his.

            It's not so much that the company is looking for stupid reasons not to hire, but they are looking for ways to whittle down the short list of people to call for interview.

            It sucks to be a graduate, with debits, and missing out on opportunities.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by billcopc (196330)

              And your advice is what? If the company's HR monkeys are as incompetent as always and solely responsible for the embarrasing lack of skill in U.S. technical positions, then the whole company is fucked in the head, and don't deserve him??

              There, fixed it for you.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:34PM (#26895719)

              David Brent understood recruitment:

              Avoid employing unlucky people - throw half of the pile of CVs in the bin without reading them.

          • Long answer (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fyngyrz (762201) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:17PM (#26892579) Homepage Journal

            First of all, do you really think that (mis)identification as a "pedophile" will be regarded as "trivial" by a potential employer? I rather doubt it, myself.

            More generally, there's no incentive for the alleged pedophile to do anything about this, if that's who posted the blog. On the contrary, the more people's lives the registration system inadvertently damages, the more likely it is that it will be reformed.

            As long as it is maintained in such a way as to pillory teenagers, as long as it violates any sensible interpretation of ex post facto, as long as it confounds the identification of actual child molesters with consenting, informed people pursuing normal sexual concourse, as long as it is a manifestation of a line in the sand that consists of nothing but arbitrary age - it really does need to be reformed.

            Unfortunately, it is a legislative and voter's freebie, an issue where people think last, if at all, about the broader implications of what they are supporting. The public is very easily manipulated on these issues, and I, for one, can't think of a solution to that which doesn't involve an IQ test, a constitutional comprehension test, and a formal disqualification from voting and serving as a lawmaker or judge if the individuals tested can't meet a reasonable standard of competence.

            This is the root problem with most democracies. Any two uninformed twerps can outvote an informed expert on the subject at hand, in an environment where expertise is a rare commodity. It's self-destructive for the host society, visibly and obviously flawed at the most basic level, and yet, the problem is rarely addressed. We don't let unqualified drivers direct a car on our streets or install plumbing, but we let any drooling idiot exert a considerable level of control on everyone else's actions though the mechanism of the law. Pitiful, really.

            • Re:Long answer (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Count Fenring (669457) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:23PM (#26893747) Homepage Journal

              As long as it is maintained in such a way as to pillory teenagers, as long as it violates any sensible interpretation of ex post facto, as long as it confounds the identification of actual child molesters with consenting, informed people pursuing normal sexual concourse, as long as it is a manifestation of a line in the sand that consists of nothing but arbitrary age - it really does need to be reformed.

              I certainly agree that the punishment side of those laws is panic-driven and needs change. I'll even go so far as to say that corner cases tend to be dealt entirely too harshly, and reexamining these situations with an eye to a more nuanced sentencing policy would do us a world of good.

              But how is the current place where the age-line is set (in most places 18, with a 16-21 law in place) "completely arbitrary?" We restrict sexual congress to people within a certain age-range because past that point, there is a power/developmental differential. Granted, there is no magical "every case is attached to this point in time" specialness of 16 (or 17, etc). But it's placed there, generally, for non-arbitrary reasons, that being that in the large majority of cases, that's the most sensible place to draw the line. Just because a decision is made on heuristics doesn't make it arbitrary.

              Furthermore, what's the solution that DOESN'T involve some sort of semi-arbitrary decision? You have to place the age of consent somewhere. Strict 18 is too draconian; it fails over too large a subset of cases. On the other hand, strict 16 would be bad legislation over the largest subset of cases. And, if you're one of those "Oh, it shouldn't be based on age, it should be based on maturity," well, how is that going to work? Every time you go down to the high school to pick up some 16 year old tail, are you going to give them a thorough mental competency exam?

              There's plenty of things that need reform about our sex-offender laws; in general, the "lines in the sand" aren't the problem.

          • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mapsjanhere (1130359) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:19PM (#26892619)
            Few comments on this:
            1) The poster is a college graduate, he competes with hundreds of nominal equal qualification
            2) the trick is not making it past the interview, the trick is making it to the interview
            3) Employers will probably interview less than 10% of the applicants
            4) 90% of applications don't make it past initial vetting
            5) Initial vetting will contain required skill set, anything extraordinary positive, any potential downside
            The latter is huge if you're competing with a crowd. Googling the applicant is part of due diligence now, and, unlike e.g. credit check, leaves no trace and doesn't require permission. Which is why he should really try hard to get this either removed, or if needed, try to play google ranking and move something else to the top. Similarly, I never understand why people need to point out things like "active in boy scouts, NAACP, KKK, AARP, League of Woman Voters, PETA, Knights of Columbus or AUSSC"; the potential for positive recognition is so much less than the potential for conflict, either with the HR person himself due to bias or because the HR person knows his or her work force.
            And no, you will never be able to prove that, your "thank you for your application" letter will always have a "decided on a person with qualifications more suitable for the position".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JWSmythe (446288) *

          The one I usually hear is "You would be perfect here. We need everything you know. We just can't afford you. We hate to insult you by asking this, but will you work for $20k/yr?"

          I wouldn't worry that an employer may or may not find something in my history, or the history of someone with my name. I'd worry that there's an employer hiring.

          I personally know dozens of people who have been laid off recently because their businesses are doing poorly. I can't think

        • Re:Short answer (Score:4, Insightful)

          by duguk (589689) <dug@nOSPam.frag.co.uk> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:44PM (#26893113) Homepage Journal
          Just avoid the problem entirely - change your name. It's not expensive.

          Hell, its the same anyone else would do if someone else started using your email address, isn't it?
          • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:57PM (#26894311)

            Be careful if you change your name... remember what happened with poor Bobby Tables.

            http://xkcd.com/327/ [xkcd.com]

            -- Terry

          • by Kagura (843695) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:16PM (#26896187)

            Just avoid the problem entirely - change your name. It's not expensive. Hell, its the same anyone else would do if someone else started using your email address, isn't it?

            Why should I have to change my name? He's the one who sucks.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Let's say you're correct and they do use it. How do you prove it? They can always find a reason not to hire you. My favourite: your skills don't match.

          I've had that happen, even within my current company.

          Example: I've worked on widget X for 5 years, the job posting was looking for people with 5 years experience, at least 50% of which was on widget X or similar technologies.

          I applied for the position and was denied with a nearly automated response: "Related work experience insufficient." Within the same c

        • by Kingrames (858416) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:11PM (#26896141)
          Easy for me. I have a topless picture of myself on myspace. if my employer bothers reading my personal info and browsing my personal websites, it'll scar him for life.
      • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Squid (3420) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:57PM (#26892103) Homepage

        With high unemployment and thousands of people applying for every job that opens, they don't really have to give you a reason why you never got a call. If you suspect there's something funny going on, that they're tossing your resume aside for illegal/unethical/just-plain-dumb reasons, you'd have a heck of a time proving it.

        It's only illegal if they get caught, seems to be the basic ethical guideline many companies use. And once caught, they pay the fine and are more subtle about it next time.

        And is it just me, or is it common practice that HR in most companies is staffed with the "unfirables" that no other department wanted? Owner's spouse or relatives, owner's ex-spouse with Clauses In The Divorce Papers, owner's golfing buddy who happens to have Pictures Of People Doing Stuff, owner's fling-on-the-side, owner's child-by-fling-on-the-side, etc - that if they had enough technical clue to understand concepts like "name collision" they probably wouldn't be in HR?

        • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:48PM (#26893167)

          And is it just me, or is it common practice that HR in most companies is staffed with the "unfirables" that no other department wanted? Owner's spouse or relatives, owner's ex-spouse with Clauses In The Divorce Papers, owner's golfing buddy who happens to have Pictures Of People Doing Stuff, owner's fling-on-the-side, owner's child-by-fling-on-the-side, etc - that if they had enough technical clue to understand concepts like "name collision" they probably wouldn't be in HR?

          Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that the economy started falling apart shortly after HR departments staffed with idiots became the norm?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by D Ninja (825055)

        But I don't think that they can legally use somebody else's actions against a prospective employee.

        And how is he going to know whether they did use the information or not?

      • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Insightful)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:07PM (#26892345) Journal

        >>>it is relatively common for HR to look into those sorts of things quickly

        Precisely, and in my experience a lot of the HR persons are little more intelligent than a typical elementary ed major. They will see the name, see the city, and ASSUME that the resume in front of them is the same person as the pedophile. The next place your resume will land is the trashcan.

        As one HR person explained to me, even a HINT of negative attitude and/or background is reason to withdraw a candidate from consideration. After all, they have thousands of other people they can choose from. They don't need you.

        As to the fix:

        Change the city on your resume to something else. For example if the location was Teterboro New Jersey, you could just say "New York". Or if it was Glen Burnie Maryland, just say "Baltimore". Pick a city that doesn't match the pedophile's city and therefore won't trigger a google hit.

        • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Interesting)

          by wizzy403 (303479)

          Oh for the want of modpoints...

        • Middle Initial (Score:3, Interesting)

          by kninja (121603)

          I would also mod Parent up.

          Use your middle initial, or even your middle name to try and differentiate yourself.

          You also may be able to just omit the city, if the position was at a well-known company, or a company that is easily findable on google.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by dragonard (261270)

          ...or even better: use your middle initial as part of your name on your resume. That will cast some doubt in (most) HR minds about just who they're dealing with it.

    • by Artraze (600366)

      Agreed. Given the high cost of hiring an employee (usually >$20k, IIRC), HR tends to be rather thorough. They will do a background check, which would (hopefully) reveal no charges related to pedophilia. In the event that they run your name through Google, they will certainly bother to read the links, both to make sure sure it's you and that the title is not misleading (morbid curiosity probably helps too).

      Also, I recollect that many companies explicit searching potential employees for legal reasons in

      • Re:Short answer (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Zerth (26112) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:04PM (#26892271)

        Not necessarily. I have a not-very common name, yet there is one person with a similar name who lived where I was born. My family left there before I could walk, several years before he lived there. He, of course, has a different SSN and is way older than me. He also committed a few crimes when I was 14(and hadn't lived in that state for over a decade).

        This occasionally showed up on badly done backgrounds checks when I was younger.

        I lost a summer job in college because of this and it was especially annoying as the report had his age and SSN, but the yoink in HR, who couldn't tell the difference between an ID that had "Under 21" stamped on it and someone old enough to run for president, voided my paperwork before talking to my boss. On the plus side, I got paid four weeks for 3 days of work.

        On the down side, FSM help me if Homeland Security were to accidently hit page-down when looking up my file.

        • by Zenaku (821866) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:36PM (#26892951)

          I worry about this kind of thing too, because though I too have a not-very common name, there is another guy with my name who grew up in the same town that I did, at the same time. He was about 8 years younger than me, and it still resulted in confusion more than once when I was living there. For example, people would ask my sister if she were related to {my name}, and she would say yes, not realizing that they were talking about the other guy with my name.

          Fortunately, the kid's kept his nose clean as far as I know. But I'll still never forgive him for getting his drawing of a ninja turtle published in the kid's section of the local paper when I was 16. That was a rough day of high school, let me tell you.

      • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Interesting)

        by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:31PM (#26892859) Journal

        Yeah the sounds just great. Now here's the reality I observed while visiting Compaq Corporation in Houston:

        - 3 HR ladies, and about 5000 resumes piled on the floor.
        - They rapidly read each resume, perhaps 30 seconds each.
        - Good resumes were carefully stacked.
        - Bad resumes got a giant X marker and tossed into a large trashcan.

        Round 2:
        - When they were done, they went through the good candidates, maybe 500 total.
        - Once again bad candidates got X'd and tossed.
        - Eventually after a full afternoon's work, they narrowed it down to around 50 resumes.

        There wasn't a deep background investigation or any of that other nonsense. It was just a quick review of qualifications. Google didn't yet exist back then (2000) but if it did, I bet a VERY quick google search for any "redflags" would have been performed during round two, and even the slightest hint of negativity would mean getting an "X" and tossed in the trash.

    • by Aminion (896851)
      You're wrong. MANY recruiters google people they are about to hire because it's a cheap and easy way to weed out obviously unsuitable people.
    • I would also agree with that it's overreacting.

      Maybe the OP should include a cover letter that mentions this and provides a quick and easy way to verify it wasn't him.

      Sure, it will be a little inconvenient, but it's a lot better than trying outrank a search ranking, etc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      Indeed, this poor lad is looking at the subject the entirely wrong way. He seems to be going to employers and saying, "please! I am good! help me out! give me a salary!" Serve the man. Bow to the establishment. Be a tool! Etc.

      Finding a job is really negotiation. You go to the company and let them know, "I am capable of this and this, which will be useful to you." A good company will see that and desire your services. If not, that's ok, you can find someone who will. Because you actually are capab
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Finding a job is really negotiation. You go to the company and let them know, "I am capable of this and this, which will be useful to you."

        I've seen this sort of suggestion before. But it only works in Dreamland, unless you're the kind of guy whose name gets mentioned in industry magazines. You can't "go to the company and let them know" because you, as an outsider, can't get to anyone in the company who cares (unless you happen to know someone there). You're stuck with going through HR. HR only has a v

    • Re:Longer answer (Score:4, Insightful)

      by INT_QRK (1043164) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:51PM (#26893219)
      No. In fact, do you want to hear a real horror story? When I went to renew my driver's license a couple of year's ago by mail I was told that I had to come to my state's version of the DMV for an unspecified problem. When I came in to renew it turned out that my very, very, common first and last names, (several pages of some variation of my name (first, last, last-and-initial(s), etc.) in metro book alone), and date of birth (OK, what are the odds there?), matched a "hold" that was put on that name and DOB from another state. It seemed that I had to clear my "record" in that other state before my current state would renew my license. No matter that I have never been in that state. So, I contacted the great state of X, and found out that someone got a ticket in 1991 after being stopped and found driving without a drivers license. He evidently paid the fine back in 1991, but never did apply and pay the $130 "reinstatement fee." X would not clear the hold on the name, and the old record showed no social security number (the guy had no license!). My state would not issue me a new license until the "hold" was cleared, and said that I could either just can pay the reinstatement fee in X for the dude or take it to court in to prove that I was not the person in question, ostensibly, I suppose, by proving my whereabouts being somewhere other than X on the night of whatever in 1991? (I was in fact in Europe and the Middle East all of that year doing Uncle Sam's business!) I checked on lawyer's fees for my area, about $150-300 per hour, and after stewing and cursing at the walls, did the math, and went ahead and paid the $130 fee on line using Mr. Visa on the state's web site -- very efficient transaction! So, here are 2 important issues relevant to the issue of identity protection in general, which is really what this is all about: (1) GIGO: bad data widely distributed and readily available can be a very, very, bad thing -- and, as more and more databases are interconnected, a process accelerated due to homeland security and other factors, there will be more and more of these horror stories, many much worse. Use your imagination! (2) The idea of a national ID card, indexed to a single identity number (like SSN), will eventually become more and more attractive as more people get burned, some perhaps tragically. If the other person with my name from the other state had given an SSN, and that SSN was the index for the "hold" instead of my all to common name coincidentally paired with a DOB that we evidently shared, then this wouldn't have been MY problem. I understand, somewhat, some people's queasiness about the idea of a national ID. On my part, I am for such a card, if for no other reason that it might potentially make identity theft (or government mis- identity) harder -- if done well (aye, there's the rub!). I sure hope my namesake doesn't end up on a no-fly list, or worse.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:04PM (#26891071) Journal

    Am I overreacting?

    I would think that you are although I sympathize with you as I also have a common name whereby my first middle & last in quotes returns 5,140 hits in Google.

    Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting?

    And then what about the results on Yahoo! Search? Or MSN Live's Search? Where would you stop?

    It may benefit you to just relax and hope that your future employer will be smart enough to recognize that's not you. I think most places of work do background checks but maybe I'm wrong. If someone turns you down and you're not sure why, ask them. If they hint at anything like this, ask them to do a background check to clear your name. I highly doubt this will happen but who knows?

    • Agreed. The companies that superficially search your name and that don't even make an attempt to find out that the pedophile is not you are the ones that you don't want to work for anyway.

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#26891317) Homepage

      Should I attempt to set up my own site that would steal the top Google search from this blog posting?

      Of course.

      You want the top search on your name to be you, not some low-life with your name. Carpe webium.

    • Hah! 5,140... That is nothing.

      Try 1,180,000 hits on Google with my first middle & last name in quotes.

    • My full first and last name return about 31,100 hits [google.ca] in Google, with quotes. Using the colloquial version of my first name returns over 146,000 results [google.ca]. It helps that I share a name with an NHL coach, I'm sure.

      When I first started using the web heavily in 1995, I couldn't use my first initial + last name, first name + last name or various versions of the above as sign-ins on major websites at the time as they were already taken.

      I began signing my name on E-mails and the like with my middle initial include

  • Make a decision. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alarindris (1253418)

    I believe I have set myself up extremely well for post-graduation employment.

    I disagree. You can't think for yourself.

    You've got 2 options.

    1. Do something.
    2. Do nothing.

    If you do something, like put up your own website, things may improve.
    If you do nothing, things stay the same.

    • by Rei (128717) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:25PM (#26891505) Homepage

      Good idea -- they should do something to get noticed. You know, perhaps they could find some super-popular tech-related website. Explain their problem. Get posted in the front page for doing so, you know that sort of stuff.

      And use their real name and a link to their website.... doh, blew that chance!

      Better luck next time, "illini1022"

  • Not to Worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wovel (964431)
    Any employer that would disqualify you soley based on blog postings from a Google search is not a place where you want to work.
    • Re:Not to Worry (Score:4, Insightful)

      by karvind (833059) <karvind@gmail . c om> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:09PM (#26891161) Journal
      Agreed. And there are more reliable ways to do background search than randomly putting your name on Google. Because it is equally likely that if there is a Nobel Prize winner with same name as yours, they wouldn't be thrilled either.
    • Exactly.

      If you're really concerned, make your own website and put its link in your resume/cover letter. Don't give it any further thought. By strongly trying to disassociate yourself from search engine results, you may be sending the wrong message.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gillbates (106458)

      The problem isn't that they'll automatically disqualify you. The problem is that they might not have time enough to interview every candidate, or do a full background search. These days, if a Google search shows a connection to something undesirable, they'll just move on to the next resume.

      It's not a rejection, per se. It's just that someone else with nothing potentially undesirable got the interview, and they liked that person so much they hired them. Maybe the would have hired you, had you gotten a

    • by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:56PM (#26892097)

      Any employer that would disqualify you soley based on blog postings from a Google search is not a place where you want to work.

      Reading this, I couldn't help but think what Google uses to do background checks on their potential employees. Does Google Google?

  • by taustin (171655) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:07PM (#26891117) Homepage Journal

    Ask yourself if you really want to work for a company that would assume that anyone with your name is you, even if - in your own words - "it would become quickly apparent that the subject in question is not me." If they're willing to do that, they'll be willing to assume you're to blame for anything anyone accuses you of to cover their own ass, and a host of other sins that employers commit ever day.

    Think of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

    • by merreborn (853723) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:27PM (#26891521) Journal

      Think of this as an IQ test of a potential employer. If one brings it up, point out to them, in detail, how easy it would have been to determine this wasn't you, then walk out of the interview and be thankful you've dodged a bullet.

      Unfortunately, in reality, if any employers do see this as an issue, they'll never bring it up. They'll just refuse to interview you in the first place, or fail to make you an offer after your interview.

      If you ask, you'll get a vague response like "We don't think you're a good fit".

      Most employers will never give you specific reasons for turning down your application, largely as a CYA move.

      • by yoshi_mon (172895)

        I think the OP's point still stands thou. If they deny anyone an interview based on such a thing, "We Googled this John's app there but it came up that a John was a 'bad person' so we better not invite him in," they fail on a number of levels.

  • by Shadow Wrought (586631) * <shadow...wrought@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:07PM (#26891125) Homepage Journal
    90% of the applicants are going to call to verify that HR got their app. How many are to call to clarify that they are not in fact the pedophile of the same name. If nothing else you know they'll look at your resume after that!
  • FTFY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ChienAndalu (1293930) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:08PM (#26891149)

    Submit a story to Slashdot that reads

    "Hello, my name is $REALNAME, and I'm currently a senior nearing graduation..."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by illini1022 (1480073)
      I was seriously considering that, for all I know it would make the other page more popular as well. The internet is tricky sometimes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ChienAndalu (1293930)

        In general, you can use the nofollow [wikipedia.org]-attribute for cases like these.

        But there is no guarantee that commenters or potential bloggers that might pick up this story would use it too, so I see your point.

  • by plover (150551) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:09PM (#26891163) Homepage Journal

    Now if you google for illini1022 and pedophile, you'll get this story. I don't think there's much you can do, other than provide people with google queries that help isolate you.

    Tell your future boss to google for "John Smith -pedophile". That will assure him you're a good person.

  • Thats what Hans Reiser also said.

  • For one thing... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSHAD0W (258774) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:10PM (#26891195) Homepage

    You should've put your real name on the Slashdot article. That probably would've topped the Google search in and of itself, displacing the pedophile article.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      He's not kidding. Many are the times that I've wanted to look something up from a slashdot post. So I paste a quote into google to get more info, the /. post is frequently at the top of the list. Even articles posted the same day make it into google.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:10PM (#26891199)

    Find the other you and kill them. I'm sure the stories about John Doe killing John Doe over his online reputation will shoot to the top. And, if you're killing a pedophile, I'm sure the judge will go lightly on you and just give you a life sentence. Okay, that last part isn't perfect, but it's a start.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hordeking (1237940)

      You could just ask the blogger nicely to remove the offending post.

      If he is rude about it, you can always claim he's slandering you. After all, he won't be able to prove he's not accusing you of being a pedo, even if there really is a pedo with your name. =P

  • by Slashdot Parent (995749) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:11PM (#26891209)

    If you have a very common name, then seriously, don't worry about it.

    Even if it's not a very common name, I still wouldn't worry too much about it. Most employers will be doing a criminal background check, which is a lot more reliable than some random blog posting.

    Lastly, if you find yourself getting into a pattern of great interviews followed by curt rejections, you might consider being proactive and having a humorous, but prepared statement that you can give during an interview about online reputations, mistaken identity, evidence that the pedophile in question could not be you, as well as how much the situation has taught you about protecting your own reputation, and by extension, the reputation of your employer. Most anything can be spun into a positive.

  • by Ecuador (740021) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:12PM (#26891235) Homepage

    As a member of the North American Marlon Brando Look Alikes, I feel your pain...
    I would advise you to join our group for some moral support, but I somehow doubt that would help you...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:27PM (#26891543)

      Please-- having the name that your parents gave you slandered on the internet is no laughing matter. I too have suffered this misfortune, and I'll thank you not to make light of it.

      Sincerely yours,
      Stephen A. Twogirlsonecup

  • by bennomatic (691188) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:12PM (#26891243) Homepage
    Unless your name is really unusual and/or the town in question is teeny-tiny, most recruiters would first consider that it's a coincidence and, if they felt it necessary, they'd check further with regards to it, and probably communicate with you on the process.

    These days, most big organizations require a background check anyway, and if the person in the blog had been convicted, that would show up in the record. Of course, if they weren't convicted, or if they were a minor at the time, the blogger might have to remove their post, as there may be legal repercussions for posting potentially libelous commentary and/or information about a minor which may be protected.
  • by sandysnowbeard (1297619) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:13PM (#26891251)
    You're paranoid and overreacting. I know that doesn't help you very much, but run through the logic, man:

    Being falsely accused is something we all fear. I understand how you feel, I bet it makes you terribly anxious. But you can quickly demonstrate you're innocent, right? If you're innocent, you shouldn't be worried about it, right? Furthermore, if they're interested in you enough to Google you, they're probably going to be interested enough to click that link and read into it. Just think about it...
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:13PM (#26891259) Journal

    ...and I'll say it a million times more. The primary function of giving someone a name is to allow you to single out one person from a collection of people. If you call someone John or David or some other common name then you are failing in that one simple task.

    Names should be unique identifiers. For some strange reason, the one segment of American society that understands this issue are vilified for using "black-sounding names". What's so hard for people to get? Stories like this are the inevitable consequence of selfish parents copying names from people around them. Frankly, I think anyone who calls their kid John should be guilty of child abuse.

    The only thing I can suggest is suing your parents.

  • Here is what you do (Score:5, Informative)

    by basementman (1475159) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:14PM (#26891285) Homepage
    Set up your own blog on a domain using some part of your full name. Write a dozen posts or so about your professional/personal life using keywords like your name that your employer would search for. Then do some link building with your name as the anchor text. Unless your name is a particularly competitive search term (guessing it isn't) this should bring you up pretty high in Google and most major search engines.
  • by PMuse (320639) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:15PM (#26891307)

    Nothing will bury search results like filing to run for office.

    (Nothing will dig up your dirty laundry as fast, either.)

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:16PM (#26891321)

    Now you know why notorious killers and assassins are always referred to by their full names. Lee Michael Oswald can flatly deny having anything to do with assassinating Kennedy. John Wayne can point out his last name isn't Gacy and he never owned a clown costume. I guess when it isn't a matter of national notoriety, middle names get dropped.

    I suppose you could always introduce yourself as such: "Hello, I'm John Doe. No, not the pedophile, though I get that a lot." Somehow I imagine you saying that with "Hi, I'm a PC's" voice.

    Of course, you could always try making yourself more infamous so that you'll be the one everyone thinks of when they hear your name. Then the other guy will say "No, I'm John Doe the pedophile. Please don't confuse me with the other guy. I have my standards."

  • Michael Bolton (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Viking Coder (102287) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:16PM (#26891327)

    From Office Space: Why should I change my name?! He's the one that sucks!

    But seriously...

    Add a middle initial: "J."

    Rocket J. Squirrel
    Bullwinkle J. Moose
    Michael J. Fox
    Homer J. Simpson

  • background checks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bugi (8479) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:23PM (#26891455)

    At least one commercial background checker uses a herd of part time hires, who are evaluated primarily on volume. The incentive is wrong for evaluating exceptional cases like yours, so I wouldn't trust that were I in your shoes.

    As another poster pointed out, that's a good excuse to call HR.

  • Is that you Christian Bale?

  • Preferably to "John Smith" or something equally difficult to google.

  • Play it up (Score:5, Funny)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:42PM (#26891787) Homepage

    In the interview, just mention that there happens to be a child molester out there with the same name as you, but that it's definitely not you. After that, say something like this, "I certainly haven't been discovered, yet, but if I don't get this job, I know a certain someone's kids who just might get molested! Hahahaha." The humor will set the interviewer at ease, while at the same time making him think, "Hmmm, this SOB might actually molest my kids."

  • Adwords! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlHunt (982887) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:53PM (#26892017) Homepage Journal

    Go here:
    https://adwords.google.com/select/TrafficEstimatorSandbox [google.com]
    Buy your name in quotations as Adwords so your own website will appear every time someone searches you out. Keep it up while you job search.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:02PM (#26892233)

    You specified "full name" in your post. Unless by "full name" you meant "including my middle name too" (which would be a huge and unfortunate coincidence), consider just using your middle name on everything job-related. For example, if your name is "John Gordon Rivers" then just call yourself "Gordon Rivers" on your resume, cover letter, cv, etc. They won't need to know your real first name until you start to fill out the formal paperwork (which probably won't be until after they've already hired you). And if they ask at that point, you can just tell them that you go by your middle name (a pretty common and unsuspicious practice). If they google you at that point, they'll be far enough along in the hiring process to actually take the time to verify that it's not you.

    Of course, this could be a problem if your middle name sucks. But just add that to the list of things to resent your parents for.

  • by Conficio (832978) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:28PM (#26892793) Homepage

    Your story seems like a bummer, but it is also an opportunity to do the right kind of looking for a job.

    I envision, this is the kind of scenario you have to fear if you send a resume to HR of a company or even a recruiting sub contractor. They farm out a web screen to someone who has little interest other that fulfilling their daily work quota. To that person (or the computer algo replacing him./her) your interests do not matter much. So you land on the pile to ignore.

    Luckily for you, the "post resume on .com or .com/careers" scheme has a success rate of 1 in 10,000, because they have so many "matching" resumes they need a quick and cheap way to select some quality one's. hence the outsourcing or delegating to a computer, and with the described handicap, your personal success rate might be worse.

    The real world job finding success happens through networking. So go to your library (or the next online book store), look for the keywords "job networking" and "Informational interview" and really learn to play that game. That way your resume comes from a real person to a person in the company, and the Internet search is at least done by someone who has to answer to someone she knows personally (= higher chance of verifying that it is not you in that article). Also, you will enjoy it much more, because you learn from every network contact you make and your chances of success are more in the 1:100 range.

    And never stop playing the networking game, even when you are happily employed. You might switch roles from time to time and refer contacts that are looking to open positions you are aware of.

  • Useful Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sherriw (794536) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @05:25PM (#26893791)

    I see this post has fallen into the typical /. answers along the lines of - any employer who would disqualify you based on Google hits isn't someone you want to work at. This is a shortsighted response. Any HR department worth it's salt finds out AS MUCH as possible about a candidate before hiring. If it's illegal they can always give another reason why they didn't hire you.

    You're not over-reacting at all- if someone doing a cursory Google search of your name could misconstrue you with this pedophile, you really should do something about it. Like:

    - Set up your own website which includes your latest resume, info about you and examples of your work if appropriate. If you are not web-development savvy- use an online profile site like linkedin or blogger or something. Put the url to your online portfolio ONTO your resume. So people know the best channel to take in order to find your legit online info.

    - Change the city on your resume that this other guy was in, to the next closest city. If an employer asks about that resume entry during an interview- you can explain the situation.

    - Politely ask the blogger if they would be willing to take down the blog post or add some info about the pedophile that would make it OBVIOUS he's not you. Like middle name/initial or age, or birth place. Many bloggers have old posts they are no longer so fired-up about and would be willing to take down if it was causing someone like you to possibly get a bad-rap for nothing. Last resort- put a comment on the blog post with a link to your online portfolio- saying this guy is NOT John Doe from Yourtown[link to portfolio].

  • by Walkingshark (711886) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:11PM (#26894535) Homepage

    I've thought about this, and considered buying my name as an adword once I seriously start job hunting, with a link to my 'official site' and explanations of various other common search results for my name. Especially since I have a relatively uncommon name, and I often post under my real name, there is a lot of stuff out there with my name on it that might freak out weak minded people who are thinking about hiring me. I'm guessing that holding their hands and walking them through the idea that a person's life on the internet has nothing to do with their job performance is going to be a bigger challenge than sifting through all the fake job postings that companies put up so they can hire H1Bs.

  • Problem solved (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hao Wu (652581) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @08:16PM (#26896189) Homepage
    define:affidavit [google.com]

    How to Write an Affidavit [ehow.com]

    Write out the situation like you explained it to us, but use formal language.

    Keep it under one page. Have it notarized. Attach a copy with every resume.

    Any other issues we can help you with? Are you brushing your teeth enough? :-)
  • by Brian Ribbon (986353) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @08:57AM (#26900793) Journal

    If the blogger does not clarify which [whatever your name is] he or she is blogging about, the blog post could be potentially slanderous. As someone who has followed anti-paedophile blogs closely, I may be able to help with identifying the blogger who potentially slandered you.

    Feel free to contact me at blribbon at fastmail dot fm, with a link to the blog post in question.

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