Survey: Only 42% Of Americans Have Googled Themselves

Although the phrase “Google yourself” has become part of our culture, a new survey suggests that less than half of Americans have actually done it.

google ourselves chart

The numbers come from a December survey commissioned by Microsoft on the subject of online reputations. The survey polled about 2,500 consumers and recruiting personnel in the US, UK, Germany and France, and was just released to coincide with today’s International Data Privacy Day.

According to the survey, only 42% of US consumers have used a search engine to find information posted about them. That’s slightly higher than the 36% of UK consumers who’ve done so, but far less than in Germany (59%) and France (56%).

While those of us in the US may not be Googling ourselves, the Human Resources industry is picking up the slack. According to the survey, 79 percent of US hiring personnel say they review online information about job applicants, and 70 percent admit to rejecting candidates based on what they’ve found. Those numbers drop dramatically for each of the other countries surveyed, with France the most different: Only 23% of recruiters there review online information, and only 14% have rejected candidates.

More than three-quarters of the recruiters and HR professionals surveyed say they research job candidates via search engines, and more than half use a variety of social media sites:

  • 78% – search engines
  • 63% – social networking sites
  • 59% – photo/video sharing sites
  • 57% – professional and business networking sites

So, the next time you’re about to tell Twitter about some crazy weekend escapades, or post photos of your bachelor party on Flickr, keep this in mind: There’s a good chance you’re putting that dream job out of reach.

You can download the full study here.

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