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Contact: Mark M. Anderson,
President & Chief Economist
203-750-1030, ext. 126

Digital Dirt Derails More Job Searches, As Recruiters' Use Of Search Engines Increases — August 16, 2007 — With the cost of recruiting and retaining senior-level talent climbing as the employment market tightens, the number of executive recruiters and hiring managers using Internet search engines to screen and eliminate candidates is growing steadily.

In February 2005, groundbreaking research conducted by ExecuNet, the executive career and business networking organization, revealed that "digital dirt" was helping to shape hiring decisions long before the interview process began. In an update to this landmark study, a recent survey of 131 executive and corporate recruiters conducted by ExecuNet reveals that the influence of online research is on the rise:

  2005 2006 2007
Percentage of Recruiters Using Search
Engines To Learn More About Candidates
75% 77% 83%
Percentage of Recruiters That Eliminated
A Candidate Based On Information Found Online
26% 35% 43%

"For better or worse, the Internet provides recruiters and employers with a wealth of unfiltered information that's used to help evaluate candidates," says Dave Opton, CEO and Founder of ExecuNet. "From a candidates perspective, there's no question that managing your reputation online is as important as it is offline."

A separate survey of 218 executives reveals that while a majority (76%) expects companies and recruiters to conduct a search of their name online during the hiring process, 22% have never entered their own name into a search engine to determine what personal or professional information is uncovered.

This survey also found that 11% of all executives fear that the information found online when entering their name in a search engine could eliminate them from consideration for a new job, and 20% have taken proactive steps to increase the positive information found online under their name – up from 13% just one year ago.

To help executive improve the quality of their online image, ExecuNet offers the following guidelines:
  • Be Alert. Enter your name into multiple search engines on a monthly basis to determine exactly what information is available to potential employers.
  • Be Proactive. Purchasing a domain name to display your resume, press mentions, and professional accomplishments will help create a more visible and professional online image.
  • Be Prepared. If there is negative information connected to your name online, expect that it will be uncovered before the interview process begins and develop key messages designed to answer questions that may arise.
ExecuNet, the executive career and business networking organization, provides exclusive access to high-level business connections for professionals, confidential six-figure job listings, expert advice and proprietary research while helping corporate and search firm recruiters find qualified executive candidates. Founded in 1988, ExecuNet helped transform the executive recruiting industry by launching the first website designed to bring senior-level professionals and search firms together in a cooperative, confidential environment to understand how to meet their human capital needs.

Based in Norwalk, Connecticut, ExecuNet is a recognized authority in executive recruiting trends and proprietary employment market research. For more information, visit