Tag Archives: Assistant manager

Further Questions: Do You Google Job Candidates?

I seem to finally have gotten rid of it, but for a while whenever I Googled my own name I’d get Emily Weak – Who Pooped? (a “science for kids and grown-ups too” type blog I wrote for a former workplace).  I know I’m not the only person who wonders if overwhelmed hiring managers are really taking some of their precious time to investigate candidates on the internet, so this week I asked people who hire librarians:

Do you Google job candidates?  Or look for them on social media, or do any other sort of online sleuthing/informal background check/personal curiosity assuaging?

Terry Ann Lawler

I have never done that, but expect that others do.

– Terry Lawler, Assistant Manager and Children’s Librarian, Palo Verde Branch, Phoenix Public Library
Not in the past, but now that you have given us the idea :-{)}
One should never post or send anything via e-mail one does not wish known.
– J. McRee (Mac) Elrod, Special Libraries Catalouging

I just about never Google job candidates. I like to rely on their resume, cover letter, and usually a phone interview these days. The only time I think I ever would sleuth out outside information about a candidate is if I had a nagging feeling or question about the person after examining all the above mentioned tradition sources. I think I have only done this twice ever, and I have been on many search committees.
It isn’t that I am old fashioned, and certainly we as employers have a right to know what we are getting. But it’s more that really strange things can pop up in Google, including getting a different person with the same name. Also, I think that we put a lot of ,maybe innocent, but personal things on our Facebook pages that really have nothing to do with our professional lives. Someone might “like” a particular political candidate on Facebook, or discuss a club or religious affiliation. Is this something that could be held against a candidate unfairly? I believe so. I think that would should rely on the candidate’s veracity on his/her resume, and definitely check references.
If one can Google someone completely out of curiosity and not let it affect their professional judgement about the person’s candidacy, then go for it. But I’m afraid that that isn’t always possible, so I think it is best to err on the side of sticking with the professional.

– Sharon Britton, Library Director, BGSU – Firelands

I only look at a candidate’s social media if it is an integral part of their application process, or if they mention it frequently. I will only Google a candidate if something comes up in the interview that makes me think it might be useful. I use an agency to screen applicants, so I might do more background checking if we didn’t have that safeguard in place.

– Jaye Lapachet, Manager of Library Services, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass LLP

Dusty Snipes GresWell, yes. I Google, look on social media, check newspapers from the area, I am a librarian. I research. And, if I find surprises, I ask for further info. Everyone has a bad day, or a bad boss sometime — just be up front. I have found that I appreciate and value the honesty and candor of the applicant much more than the questionable letter to the editor about the candidate’s habit of Friday night karaoke at the Dew Drop Inn!

– Dusty Gres, Director, Ohoopee Regional Library System

Marge Loch-WoutersI don’t investigate candidates through social media or google although I know lots of my younger colleagues – and even co-workers – do. I want candidates to sell me on their bona fides. We have a rigorous interview process that includes essay questions and a pre-skype interview that really narrows our field and reveals who has the smarts, stamina and skills and talents that best match our position.

In terms of social media, if they don’t list blogs or tumblrs, I figure it’s their business. People need a place to let their hair down.  I find that a strong social media presense or google hit list reveals far more about a person’s ability to “float to the top of attention” rather than be an awesome day-to-day co-worker and savvy librarian.

– Marge Loch-Wouters, Youth Services Coordinator, La Crosse (WI) Public Library

Marleah AugustineI hire part-time support staff, for the most part. I do not do any online sleuthing; however, I do typically check if the person has a library card with us. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means if they do not have a card, or if they have bills, but it gives me an idea about if the person has been to the library at least prior to applying. It sometimes helps actually if they don’t have a card with us, because then one of their first on-the-job training experiences can be making their own card!

– Marleah Augustine, Adult Department Librarian at Hays Public Library


Nicola FranklinAs a recruiter I often search for prospective candidates online – most often on LinkedIn, Twitter and also on the library listserves and other library-specific forums.  I only rarely do a general Google search on someone.  My reasons for looking are twofold:

1) to see whether the person has been professionally active (starting LinkedIn discussions, membership of library groups on LInkedIn, contribution to library-related conversations on Twitter or on the discussion lists, etc)

2) to see how the person communicates and puts their views forward in their profesional life and outside of an interview situation (in a reasoned, professional way or with evidence of bitterness or unprofessional behaviour (such as personal attacks))

Employers have to be careful about how they carry out online searches of potential candidates and how they use the information they find out.  It is very easy to get led into making hiring decisions based on unverified, biased or discriminatory information.

Having said that, people also have to be careful of what they post online.  I recently interviewed someone who had been fired from her position for posting on Facebook that she didn’t like her boss and wanted to change jobs – one of her ‘friends’ told her boss about the posting.

These days what you say about yourself, your profession and your ideas, in all of the online fora taken together, creates a major part of your reputation.  This is very important in how (or whether) you get hired.  Even deciding not to participate makes a certain kind of statement and could lead some employers to be less keen to interview you (or visa versa, of course).

Whether each individual wants to be a part of the digital communication world is of course up to them, but I believe it’s important to be aware of the impression that decision makes on others, so that you can make an informed choice of whether, and how, to participate.

– Nicola Franklin, Director, The Library Career Centre Ltd.

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 me at hiringlibrariansATgmail.

Thank YOU for reading!  As always, your comments are amber waves of grain.

*edited 3/4/2013 to add in Nicola Franklin’s answer


Filed under Academic, Further Questions, Other Organization or Library Type, Public