For any employer who’s going to be doing a great deal of entry-level hiring, it might not be a bad idea to do a quick Internet search of each candidate using his or her full name – just to see what, if anything, turns up. It’s quick and easy, and there are a number of Internet search tools available.
The point is, if a job applicant has done anything newsworthy or notorious, it’s probably going to be on the Internet. I would not, however, rely on the Internet as an infallible screening tool. If something questionable comes up, it should be a trigger to have a more professional search done to make sure your candidate and the person mentioned on the Internet are the same and that the information that appeared there is actually true and actually about your candidate.
For example, if a candidate’s name appears on the Internet as someone having been convicted of something like aggravated assault, the next logical step would be to do a county-specific court check before proceeding with any hiring decision – using three identifiers such as full name, date of birth, and Social Security number. It would be a serious mistake to assume that, just because names are identical, the candidate and the person convicted of aggravated assault are one and the same. They may not be! It’s amazing how many people have the same names but are totally unrelated. It’s not unusual occasionally to find more than one person with the same name and also the same date of birth. That’s why that third identifier is essential to avoid being accused of wrongful denial of employment.
Nevertheless, a quick Internet search, used properly, can be an effective tool for employers to use before going too far into the hiring process.