A bad Google result (or several) showing up for your name can do some serious damage to your career – at any stage in life. 70% of HR departments have rejected candidates based on information they found online and 50% of executive recruiters have eliminated an executive job candidate because of information they found publicly available on the Internet.
You don’t need to be a criminal or a bad person to have a Google result that can send your career into a tailspin. If you’re not actively managing your online reputation, you could be caught off guard anytime with a bad result. We took a poll of BrandYourself users with admittedly bad Google results for their name and discovered the top 5* types of bad Google results that could pop up to wreak havoc on your professional reputation and career.
1. Doing something that results in bad press (41%)
Getting bad press is an easy way to ruin your Google results -and you don’t have to be a celebrity or public figure to find yourself in a situation that could have damaging effects on your career. It seems as though each week there’s a new story in the press about someone losing their job as a result of something they posted to a social media site or thought they shared in confidence. Whether it be a rant about how much they hate their job or this sorority girl who thought she was sending a private email to her sorority sisters and ended up in the headlines. Most recently, a young businessman posted a Facebook status in ill taste about his views of the people of San Francisco and found himself on the bad side of the press.
2. Information about an arrest (19%)
Obviously, a mugshot or police blotter about your arrest can ruin your Google results.You don’t need to be a hardened criminal to have results like this haunt you though. Perhaps you were arrested for being in the wrong place at the wrong time (like being at party where a fight breaks out) or arrested for a crime but cleared of the charges and quickly let go. It doesn’t necessarily have to be your arrest either. You may be involved with an investigation that you would rather not be associated with. The news about the arrest/situation could linger in your Google results for months, or even years.
3. Unhappy Customers or False Reviews (18%)
Reviews of businesses/companies can provide consumers valuable information. That said, it takes one customer writing a bad review to completely ruin your results (especially if the review is false). While some sites are a legitimate place for consumers to post reviews about their experience, there are several sites that are anonymous forums for people to post slanderous reviews. These sites then charge victims of false reviews to have the slanderous posts and comments removed. Showing up on one of these sites can prove to be a nightmare.
TIP: Even if the reviews appear false, it’s always important to answer them in a professional manner. If it is a legitimate customer, it’s best to appease the customer in whatever way possible – the cost of making them happy always beats the cost of what they could do to you online in more bad reviews.
4. Slanderous Posts on a Blog Site (10%)
Unfortunately, the web is full of anonymous sites where anyone can post whatever they want about someone – whether it’s true or not. One disgruntled employee, angry colleague who got passed over for the promotion you just got or former business associate can sound off on a forum or comment section and dramatically impact your Google results (and your reputation for anyone looking you up).
5. Ex GF/BF Backlash – Rants & Revenge Porn (10%)
Breakups are hard enough. An angry ex anonymously posting pictures to revenge porn sites or talking trash about you on sites such as Cheaterville can put the dirty fallout of your breakup at the top of your Google results. This could affect not only your career but your personal life and relationships as well. We’ve seen a rise in the popularity of revenge porn sites. Recently, an owner of one of these sites was arrested but, unfortunately, when one site is shut down another pops up.
So what does it mean for you if you have a bad result? First things first, Google your name (and any common misspellings/ variations) to see exactly what’s out there about you online. If you do have a bad result or several, don’t worry, there’s a number of things you can do to help fix the situation and improve your online reputation.
If you need some help, give us a call and we’ll work through your unique situation together: 315-565-1799
*Approximately 2% accounts for miscellaneous negative result types.