Curious about customers and colleagues

According to a new study from Harris Interactive and metasearch engine Dogpile, 23 percent of U.S. adults have used the Internet to search for information about their customers, co-workers, potential employees, and supervisors.

Reasons for Searching Employees
Why did you search for
information about the
following person or people?
Curiosity 52%
Researching the background
of a job candidate
Looking for specific information
(i.e. address or phone number)
Researching to find a new job
or prepare for a job interview
Checking out a rumor 21%
Other 17%
Base: Respondents who have searched
for an employee or potential employee.
Source: Harris Interactive/ Dogpile

While I suppose I’m not really surprised that the number is so low, I’m thinking, “What the heck is everybody else doing?” — particularly when it comes to potential hires (only 10 percent do this). I can’t even conceive of hiring somebody without doing an Internet search on them, and yet 90% of employers don’t. That’s insane. It takes all of five minutes and may tell you all kinds of information about them that’s not on their resume — both good and bad.

What was particularly interesting, though, is that the most common reason people do this is not as background checks or looking for contact information, but mere curiosity. Curiosity is all well and good, but again, I’m just amazed that more people aren’t more purposeful in what they’re doing. Less than half of the respondents did it for background research or to prepare for a job interview. Again, that’s just crazy. Never go into a job interview, or a sales presentation, without getting every bit of information you can on the company in general and the specific people you’re meeting with.

It’s cliché, I know, but knowledge really is power.