Research proposal: Is it easier to obtain a job when you are googable.

On: October 2, 2011
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About Clément Adam
I was born In Paris. I then moved to the Netherlands for a Bachelor in Psychology and Anthropology. Studying New Media is a new field for me however I have always been interested by the latest technology. Aside from my studies I am interested in Photography & a lot more.


Googable: 1. The ability of an item to be found using a google search.
2. Also indicative of popularity. Alternative spelling: googlable

Social networks have evolved and developed at fast pace in the last decade. They have not always been around, but they are now omnipresent.  The social network Facebook currently has more than 800 million active users, that’s nearly 1/7th of the World’s total population, and nearly ½ of the total number of internet users. Due to the humongous popularity of Facebook, a great number of research concerning privacy and identity have been conducted which is why a different approach to social networks is needed in order to obtain fresh results.

Since social networks are so present in today’s society, people are tempted to look for information about someone’s private life or past by searching on the Internet. In the documentary “I am the media” by Benjamin Rassat, the interviewer asks at different times it’s interviewee whether he/she has googled him before the interview.  Practically all answered yes, and they also admitted to google their own names from times to times to see how they are doing on the ranking, and to see what people are saying about them.
Whether it is to see what people are saying about you, or to obtain information about someone, the Internet provides a lot of precious information about individuals.

The social network LinkedIn is different than Facebook in the sense that it is a business orientated social network. It allows people to make their CV available online and allows people to connect with past business partners. The LinkedIn network is already well developed (120 million members worldwide), and it is – as they proudly display it on their home page – the largest professional network.  It has recently added the option to apply for a position directly through it’s service using a simple apply button.
Recruiters put a lot of effort in recruiting the right persons for the job. Indeed, hiring someone who is not reliable can have bad repercussions on a company. Recruiters are therefore inclined to lookup information on the applicants by any means. This entitles comparing the CV they have received by the applicant to the information available online and especially on LinkedIn.

In this study, I would like to find out whether having an online identity has an influence on the acceptance for a professional position.  The influence must of course be different according to the job (for instance a journalist might be asked to show examples of a blog, whereas someone applying to for a body guard position will need to show some previous practice or look ridiculously buff..

My hypothesis H0 is that no matter what the person is applying for, an updated LinkedIn profile is positive to one’s application. This is of course debatable as a student who has good communication skills would do well on an interview however the lack of online experience might play against him.

Different methods to collect data will be used in order to study whether one has better chances of obtaining a job with a LinkedIn profile than someone else.
First of all, a qualitative research using anonymous questionnaires will allow us to realize how often recruiters look for someone’s data on the Internet before considering hiring them.  Recruiters will be handed in anonymous questionnaires asking them to share some of their hiring techniques.
The use of other social media such as Facebook should also be taken into account, however we will mainly focus on the use of LinkedIn by professionals.
Secondly, by following a few companies, information on applicants for a certain job will be collected .We will attempt to find people with similar career and analyze whether those with a LinkedIn page are accepted at different rates.
Finally, the use of the new “apply” button on the business social network will be studied. In doing so, we will come to a conclusion on the use of the apply button to determine whether its uses are recommended or not. The apply button could on the one hand have two consequences for its users: it could helps obtaining the job fast and easily due to its simplicity. On the other hand, the simplicity of applying could have negative effects for the applicant, as he will be exposed to a lot more competition.

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