I know, I know. I should be concerned about Googling candidates. After all, as many of you have pointed out to me, there are privacy issues, and dammit, what a person does elsewhere in their life shouldn't matter if they can do the job.
So, I Google anyway, and many of you disagree. I'm a pig - I'll own it. There's just this little thing that I can't get over. YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR KNOWING EVERYTHING YOU CAN KNOW ABOUT PEOPLE YOU BRING INTO THE COMPANY. And if you don't know things you should, you'll suffer the consequences. Consider this cautionary tale via a conversation I had with an executive friend at another company:
KD: Rob, what's up?
Rob: KD, you'll never believe what just happened.
KD: Educate me, brother.
Rob: We had a Controller candidate in today. I was the last guy up to interview him, and I had a resume, but I had a couple of minutes before the interview and no time to start anything else. So I Googled the guy...
KD: <Bracing for contact> And?...
Rob: Turns out the guy was embroiled in a Sarbanes Oxley cluster scandal at his last company. First Google entry returned when I pressed "search". WTF? So I march down to the guy who's running the search, and say, btw, did you bother Googling Finklestein? The guy tells me no, and since it's a retained search, the big search firm is responsble for fully vetting, etc. I tell my guy that he might want to Google Finklestein. He declined, but I insisted. So he did and within 15 seconds let out a noise like he had just been kicked in the groin by a pointy-toed country western boot.
KD: Wow. What happened then?
Rob: The candidate was intereviewing with the CEO. My guy calls down to see where it's at and is informed that the CEO requested another hour because it's going so well.
Rob: The lesson my Capitalist friend? Always Google before you buy that plane ticket for the candidate.
If I was defending the right to Google candidates in a court of law and told that story, I'd drop my microphone for dramatic effect after sharing that knowledge, like Randy Watson of the band Sexual Chocolate, leaving the stage in Coming to America.
Just Google people. Decide how you bring it up later.