Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The benefits of a Googleable name

Interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about the benefits of a unique, Googleable name. As someone who naturally possesses one of these types of names, I guess Kevin J. Delaney wouldn't consider me a nobody. So that's something.

I wrote about names once before in my long-since abandoned blog, which was started to commemorate my son's birth. I dropped that public blog due to lack of time (not coincidentally I started my current job right when RJ was born).

Anyway, this kind of leads in to my Why Blog post that is still in draft mode because I can't find the time to finish it. Which you would find ironic if you read the draft, but I digress.

To get back on topic, there are some key points that Delaney's article doesn't touch on. Significantly, Google results change over time and can expand dramatically. Searching for Smithurst resulted in me, KJ (my sister who is now a Stewart), Ben (appears to be a Unix guru from England who I have never met and am not related to), and Michael (a hockey player for the Norwegian national team) even just a few years ago. Now, the Smithursts around the world are crawling out of the woodwork. Still, it's better than "Smith" and always will be--try Googling my step-dad, David Smith, and let me know how you make out!

I Google (and "MySpace") job applicants and often people I am developing a working relationship with--such as outside partners or whatever. In fact, I even have a barebones MySpace profile just so I can log in and have the ability to search better. From an employer's perspective, it is frustrating when Bob Jones applies for a job with you. Someone named Tilda Swindlehurst would be much preferred--unless no results come up for Tilda. Being in the technology industry, I would be very suspicious of a job applicant with an uncommon name who was not findable on Google...

You might not want to be Googleable anyway. A huge disadvantage of an uncommon name is that anything you post online could come back to haunt you very easily. For example, I once was considering a resume that looked fairly good and definitely seemed interviewable. However, among other potential problems discovered online was the person's MySpace page. I wouldn't necessarily negatively judge someone by their MySpace page or what they do in their spare time, BUT this person's "About Me" basically indicated that they hated working and preferred to sit on the beach daydreaming. Not such a good impression for obvious reasons. No interview. Our HR department will probably kill me for sharing that story, but there you have it.

It's pretty easy to find odd links to me online, but there's nothing I'm really embarrassed about. If I was in the job-market, I don't think there is anything out there that would hurt me. And, hey, I'm somebody! Abigail and Kevin would be proud...

1 comment:

KJ said...

I haven't used Smithurst for over 5 years now, glad to see I still exist in space somewhere as a Smithurst. But I'm glad to report that my first name, Kerri-Jo stills shows up without the need of a surname. But if you do search it Brent doesn't have a stripper sister, I'm the very boring other one. Maybe I should hint to any interviewer to check out my photos on-line, lol, I'm old enough that I wouldn't mind if she were me.