As the new saying goes, online is forever.

Some people have become quite sophisticated at hiding or diverting attention from their past, and embellishing their education or career, so the need for due diligence in the hiring process is becoming ever more important.

I was recently handling a very senior recruitment assignment for one of my clients. We had run parallel advertising and search campaigns, and were developing a very good long list. Candidate response had been high quality, but one of the respondents just looked too good to be true…

The media loves to follow the downfall of a high profile person, especially one where if someone in the hiring process had googled the candidate’s name, a costly hiring mistake, as well as months of ensuing negative publicity, could have been easily avoided. Generally it’s something very obvious, such as the loss of registration for a professional or a criminal conviction, which gives the game away.

But sometimes it’s what you don’t find that is even more telling.  A candidate who claims to have held a director role in an organisation that requires statutory reporting, but has no internet presence at all, raises a few questions: Was that really their role? How long were they actually there? Does this person even exist?

Or perhaps there was an article in an obscure publication or on some unsubstantiated website about the star candidate, indicating a scandal, or raising questions about the way they treated co-workers. In all cases the level of trust between candidate and hiring manager or recruiter is diminished, and raises further questions about their suitability.

CareerBuilder reports, “More than two in five (43 percent) hiring managers who currently research candidates via social media said they have found information that has caused them not to hire a candidate…” What’s more, a shocking 24% of candidates lied about their qualifications!

As important as it is for you to do your due diligence on potential hires, it’s also important for candidates to google themselves to find out what might be out there and address it on their application. Your digital profile is not a hidden X-file; it’s there for the world to see.