Further Questions: Do you Google job candidates?

This week we asked people who hire librarians

Do you Google job candidates? Or look for them on social media, in your library system records (if local), or any other type of informal/formal background check? Have you ever done this and regretted it, or not done this and wished you had? When in the process would you be an online detective and why? I’ll admit that I Google people all the time, just because I’m curious and like putting my research skills to the test!

Pssst… we discussed this issue on Further Questions before, so take a look to see how things may have changed since 2013!

​I know this is not a very exciting answer, but our HR does not allow us to do this. If the candidate provides links in their application materials like to their LibGuides or their blog, we can look at those, but nothing else.

– Julie Leuzinger, Department Head, Library Learning Services, University of North Texas Libraries

Our HR department generally does the basic background check/work verification.

As for myself, I don’t Google prospective job applicants. My rule of thumb is: would I want someone to Google me? I’d rather not have someone judge me based on some random thing I might have tweeted five years ago, divorced from any context. I judge people based on their work history and their interview. I did it once a few years ago, I’ll admit, but I felt so creepy about it that I’ve never done it again. It just felt so invasive. But, maybe, if I was presented with a serious candidate that had a strange gap in their work history that they failed to explain either in the application or the interview, I might do it again, but that’s the only time I think I might consider it. So-my advice to applicants-if you have long gaps in your work history or were fired, etc., be honest and up-front about the reasons. Don’t make me Google you!

– Margaret M. Neill, Regional Library Branch Manager, Main Library, El Paso Public Library

Jessica OlinIt depends what the position is. An administrator? Absolutely I’ll Google/DuckDuckGo/etc. I’m an academic librarian, so I might look an administrator candidate up on Google Scholar as well. If it’s an entry level professional, I’ll probably only Google if something feels a bit wrong or if I’m torn between two candidates. Paraprofessional? Never have. As for library system records? Never.


– Jessica Olin, Director of Parker Library, Wesley College

Celia RabinowitzI rarely Google or search for a candidate online.  This is often at least partly a result of lack of time more than anything else.  When I have it has most often been after an on-campus interview.  I prefer not to have outside social media influences, including photographs, on my assessment of candidates before I meet them other than what they might provide information about in their own application materials.  I might take a look at the web site for their current place of employment if it is an institution I am unfamiliar with.  I consider that an enhanced form of looking at their professional credentials.

– Celia Rabinowitz,  Dean of Mason Library at Keene State College in Keene, NH

Thank you as always to our contributors for their time and insight.  If you’re someone who hires librarians and are interested in participating in this feature, please email us at hiringlibrariansquestionsATgmail.com.

Thank YOU for reading!  If you liked reading, you’re going to really love COMMENTING.


Filed under Further Questions

3 responses to “Further Questions: Do you Google job candidates?

  1. If they are coming in for an interview, I always search for them online. It’s by no means a screening process for whom to interview rather a way of verifying what’s in the application. I feel as an information professional, I can sort out what is “good” or relevant information about a person. The search mostly centers around Linked in. I like linked in because I can also find out if they know anyone that I happen to know professionally.

    Liked by 1 person

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