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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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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:04PM (#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?

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

    by basementman (1475159) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:14PM (#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.
  • Re:Short answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:22PM (#26891441)
    And? I didn't say no companies at all did this, I said no company worth your time does this.
  • Re:Short answer (Score:4, Informative)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @02:51PM (#26891995) Journal

    Depends on the state. In some, it's illegal and/or a formal policy not to search. From talking to my HR folks they have told me it is illegal to use internet information in Illinois, for example. Upon googling for more research, I can see what they're talking about here:

    http://www.hrtrainingcenter.com/showWCDetails.asp?TCID=1003117 [hrtrainingcenter.com]

    So actually, you are very wrong. Shady/shitty HR folks will come up with BS excuses to dance this law, by coming up with stuff like "your skills don't match". My work does not do that. We don't dance laws.

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

    by electrostatic (1185487) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @03:44PM (#26893107)
    Does your full name match -- same middle name and same spelling? If not, spell it out fully. Otherwise add home town, age, University attended and years... There's bound to be a few salient facts of your bio that blatantly distinguish you from him. Is his SSN shown in his online record? Make sure HR knows yours is not his.
  • Re:Short answer (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:01PM (#26893357)
    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.

    Uh-huh. And people never do anything illegal, do they? Especially when "protecting the children" is at stake. Besides, they don't have to "not hire you" for it to have caused problems. All they have to do is move the resume to the "do not call" pile. You'll never know that you weren't given an interview, let alone hired, because there's a pedo out there with the same name as you. And yes, people are that stupid. Especially the HR flunkies/interns that typically end up sorting through resumes.
  • Re:Short answer (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @04:04PM (#26893419) Homepage

    (1) Is to help boost stocks by convincing investors the company is growing, even though it's not actually hiring anybody. (2) To claim they searched for U.S. candidates, could not find any, therefore they need to import cheap labor from China or India. Whichever one it is, it was obvious I wasn't getting the job even though I'm only 30 minutes away from the factory.

    I once worked for a company that advertised a job that wasn't actually open. Basically, the person in that position was foriegn (Italian) and had just applied for full residency in the U.S. Her employer wanted to keep her on, of course. But apparently they had to prove to the INS that she was most fit for the job, so they had to advertise the job. Not sure what corporate machinations were involved, but they did keep her (and she got residency).

    At another place, they had received such a huge number of applications for a specific job, that they decided not to accept any more.

  • Re:Short answer (Score:3, Informative)

    by cc_pirate (82470) on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @06:54PM (#26895965)

    So shouldn't the HR drone have MENTIONED this?

    I lean toward the H1B theory myself... "We put up the ad and received NO APPLICANTS! We MUST be allowed to hire foreign workers!"

  • by oiladdict (452441) <alanNO@SPAMwompedy.com> on Tuesday February 17, 2009 @07:25PM (#26896275) Homepage

    Add a Google SearchWiki note to that search result saying something like "Note to potential employer: This is not the $REALNAME whose resume you have in your hands."

    And if its the first time they've seen a SearchWiki tag, it might freak them out and then they'll definitely remember you.

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