Forget the resume: Recruiting search engines build Web dossiers about you

What do recruiters know about you? Your first thought after reading this week's feature story about recruiting search engines that mine the Web and build dossiers about your skills -- and even rate your knowledge for recruiter clients -- might very well be to worry. Might the information that these search engines gather from every nook and cranny of the Web invade your privacy? But most people realize by now that whatever you post online is fair game. You post it: They aggregate it.

There is, however, something you should worry about, especially if this technology takes off. Now that search engines have taken over building your resume, are you managing the information that's out there about you? A LinkedIn profile is no longer sufficient. Going forward, feeding these Web crawlers the right diet of content may be a key to managing your career.  And here are a few other potential concerns:

Will you get filtered out?

While the search engines as used today are designed to help recruiters find highly qualified, in-demand software engineering and programming talent, the technology, which vendors hope will catch on more broadly, can be used to review the qualifications and background of current candidates, essentially filtering you out before you even get an interview. And while the vendors say they don't do this today, these search engines could also easily report on and assess your cultural fit and temperament for a job based on your posts and rants on, say, Twitter and then pass that on to recruiters either in raw form or with some sort of score.

Is the data out there about you correct?

It's possible that a profile about you, assembled from many different sources, may be incorrect or the data may not have been matched up properly, leading to a profile that contains a mash-up of content with another individual who isn't you.

Only one vendor in this space, RemarkableHire, allows subjects to opt out of its service. And unfortunately, none allow the subject to review their profile data for accuracy or have a mechanism for users to make corrections to that data.

Do you have a big enough presence on social media and other industry-related sites on the Web to even be on recruiters' radar for those top jobs?

Today, these talent mining tools are primarily used to find software engineering professionals. That's a natural fit, as many programmers post regularly on social media and may contribute code to open source projects. But if the technology gets used more broadly, it won't just be programmers who should to take actions to make sure they don't get overlooked.

What if you're an engineer with no patent applications? A programmer without significant code contributions or comments on Github? What if you seldom post on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn? How you build and manage the online content and social media interactions that make up your profile could affect your future career options. You need to get noticed.

In the future, says Pete Kazanjy, CIO and co-founder of TalentBin, these search engines may function as a "smart talent agent that ...consumes what you do professionally, keeps track of the new skills you acquire...and magically presents you with relevant job opportunities to ensure that you're constantly paid what your worth."

Today, however, it is the recruiters who are paying for these services. The "smart agents" work for them, not for you. But you can still control what content and social media interactions you put out there. In this new world, every document you post online, every shred of code that's shared, every social media interaction you make is a marketing statement about you.

It's up to you to manage it.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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