Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

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Anonymous User
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Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:22 pm

5 years ago, I worked for a conservative political organization that advocated against gun control and, also I'm unfortunate to say now, gay marriage. When you search my name on the internet, links come up that link my writing or research to articles about guns and gay marriage.

I realize that most Big Law firms are, at least openly, inclusive and culturally urban. So what should I do to deal with my Google footprint? It would be my guess that most would be publicly and openly supportive of gay marriage, and probably the majority of members would associate 2nd Amendment advocacy with fringe right/white terrorism.

I am older and have changed significantly. I have, in fact, lived abroad for 3 years, so I do not fit the profile of a typical Bible thumping redneck. But if I get placed in the ding pile without even getting to explain this at an interview, I could be in for a lot of inexplicable rejections.

What should I do to either deal with my Google footprint technically or while pitching myself to firms?

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ben4847
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby ben4847 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:26 pm

Hmm. I has lunch with the managing partner of my office last week, and the conversation was hunting. We were all pro.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:27 pm

ben4847 wrote:Hmm. I has lunch with the managing partner of my office last week, and the conversation was hunting. We were all pro.


Guns are somewhat less of a concern. Gay marriage is a much bigger concern since many firms actively recruit from the LGBT community.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:28 pm

The partners I know of at one particular big firm are all pretty conservative actually.

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ben4847
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby ben4847 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:29 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
ben4847 wrote:Hmm. I has lunch with the managing partner of my office last week, and the conversation was hunting. We were all pro.


Guns are somewhat less of a concern. Gay marriage is a much bigger concern since many firms actively recruit from the LGBT community.


Well, I'm against gay marriage, but I would not hesitate to hire someone who was LGBT (but I wouldn't marry them).
So I don't see how that is a contradiction.

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Holly Golightly
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Holly Golightly » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:33 pm

ben4847 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
ben4847 wrote:Hmm. I has lunch with the managing partner of my office last week, and the conversation was hunting. We were all pro.


Guns are somewhat less of a concern. Gay marriage is a much bigger concern since many firms actively recruit from the LGBT community.


Well, I'm against gay marriage, but I would not hesitate to hire someone who was LGBT (but I wouldn't marry them).
So I don't see how that is a contradiction.

I, on the other hand, would not want to hire someone who is on the record being anti-gay marriage.

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Band A Long
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Band A Long » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:39 pm

I imagine you cannot contact the organization and request that they take them down? If you have tried that (unlikely, I suppose), you can try to aim for a different solution.

I doubt that someone searching for you would go too far down in search results looking for your old writing unless they knew what to look for. Your job now can be to fill up the first page or so of results specifically about you that you can actually control. The way search engines usually display results is based on incoming links — the reason why TLS is so high up in a search for 'law school' is partly because so many people have other websites that link to TLS. You can do this yourself by building a comprehensive online profile with lots of interconnected links between different pages.

So, if you get a domain name, say JoeShmoe.com, and set up a little site on it with an 'about' page, 'contact' page, 'C.V.' page, etc. you can then populate that site and link to it from the other sites that you control — e.g. facebook, google plus, flickr, yahoo, twitter, etc. Of course, this requires that some of those other sites be public or at least less limited, and may require something of a change in how you use them (i.e. if you post about asinine things or curse a lot on such sites it might get you in just as much trouble as before). Basically, you need to produce web content that will replace/overtake the old stuff that you wrote a few years ago.

This is a good starting point for doing so: "Establish and Maintain Your Online Identity."

Lastly, I would come up with a quick 30 second response in case it ever comes up in a random interview/conversation. You were employed by these people, I presume, so you could take the "I'm a literary mercenary" approach, or just say that your views have changed significantly. Personally I would only worry about the gay marriage bit — the NRA is huge and there are millions of American gun owners. To me it's a political disagreement, not a symbol of intolerance (then again, I'm not a partner lololol).

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:46 pm

Band A Long wrote:I imagine you cannot contact the organization and request that they take them down? If you have tried that (unlikely, I suppose), you can try to aim for a different solution.

I doubt that someone searching for you would go too far down in search results looking for your old writing unless they knew what to look for. Your job now can be to fill up the first page or so of results specifically about you that you can actually control. The way search engines usually display results is based on incoming links — the reason why TLS is so high up in a search for 'law school' is partly because so many people have other websites that link to TLS. You can do this yourself by building a comprehensive online profile with lots of interconnected links between different pages.

So, if you get a domain name, say JoeShmoe.com, and set up a little site on it with an 'about' page, 'contact' page, 'C.V.' page, etc. you can then populate that site and link to it from the other sites that you control — e.g. facebook, google plus, flickr, yahoo, twitter, etc. Of course, this requires that some of those other sites be public or at least less limited, and may require something of a change in how you use them (i.e. if you post about asinine things or curse a lot on such sites it might get you in just as much trouble as before). Basically, you need to produce web content that will replace/overtake the old stuff that you wrote a few years ago.

This is a good starting point for doing so: "Establish and Maintain Your Online Identity."

Lastly, I would come up with a quick 30 second response in case it ever comes up in a random interview/conversation. You were employed by these people, I presume, so you could take the "I'm a literary mercenary" approach, or just say that your views have changed significantly. Personally I would only worry about the gay marriage bit — the NRA is huge and there are millions of American gun owners. To me it's a political disagreement, not a symbol of intolerance (then again, I'm not a partner lololol).


1. If I were to contact the organization, how would I get them to take things down? I somehow think it is highly unlikely that they would do so without some sort of legal threat (which is unlikely).

2. As long as I get to the interview, I'm fine. My explanation is solid and has been highly successful in the past. I am afraid that I might get dinged before the interview.

3. I've tried to use social media with my real name and even done some posts on here with my real name. However, it is insufficient. I guess I'm popular because my stuff has tons of views. I'll actually have to pay for a domain name, I guess.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:49 pm

I just don't see this being a big deal unless you were with something like a God Hates [HI I'M THE WORD FILTER. THIS PERSON MIGHT BE A DICK.] group.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:53 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but I also have this problem. When I was in middle/high school, I worked for a conservative political magazine, and there are specific articles tied to my name about gay marriage, death penalty, guns, etc.

I actually asked them to take this down, but they cited some legal reason and wouldn't take it down. My views have SIGNIFICANTLY changed after attending a very liberal undergra... will this be a problem? or would most people assume that this was just an adolescent writing/disregard?

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Band A Long
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Band A Long » Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:56 pm

Anonymous User wrote:1. If I were to contact the organization, how would I get them to take things down? I somehow think it is highly unlikely that they would do so without some sort of legal threat (which is unlikely).

Yeah, I didn't know how big the organization is. I figured if it was small or you knew the owner/president you could just ask. Just a random idea, probably not practical without legal action like you said, and I doubt that would really get anywhere.
Anonymous User wrote:3. I've tried to use social media with my real name and even done some posts on here with my real name. However, it is insufficient. I guess I'm popular because my stuff has tons of views. I'll actually have to pay for a domain name, I guess.

Yeah, probably. They're not too bad, though, maybe like 10 bucks a year for the name plus some more in hosting fees. There are some sites that let you pay in small amounts ahead of time instead of getting a monthly charge of 3 or 5 bucks per month which adds up pretty quick. Could be worth it to bury it, I dunno.

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A'nold
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby A'nold » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:01 pm

The black and white thinking you guys are demonstrating leaves me shaking my head. Do you honestly think everyone against gun control is a "Bible thumping hick" and that you were saved by the uber liberal UG machine? I know plenty of liberal democrats vehemently opposed to gun control laws for very educated and thought out reasons.

These are the kinds of things that drive moderates like me crazy. Hasn't law school at least taught you how thinking on the extremes in life is foolish and encouraged you to embrace they grey and ditch the purely black and white?

*steps down from pedestal and awaits inevitable attacks from each side*

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minnbills
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby minnbills » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:02 pm

There is a company that manages online reputations, it's called reputation something. I don't know what they'll do or how much it costs but I'd look them up

bdubs
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby bdubs » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:07 pm

If the organization is reasonable, maybe they would consider taking your name off of the articles. I'm sure they would understand if you said that you were in the process of a job search in a fairly buttoned down industry and didn't want your political views to color the employer's assessment.

I think that will get you a lot farther than saying, "I don't agree with you anymore and I demand you take down what I wrote for you several years ago!"

You would need to do it soon so that Google's cached version of the site updates before employers start googling you. Which, btw, I assume probably won't happen until after your screening interviews.

ruski
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby ruski » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:10 pm

what about changing the name on your resume. use a nickname where the search won't come up.

you may have to fill out some forms at the firm (and here of course you must use your legal name) but at least hr won't be able to screen you BEFORE inviting you for an interview. interviewers also wouldn't be able to see it. it would only come up in a formal background check after they decided to give you an offer (even then it might not if there is no 'googling applicant's name' policy). if it comes up during the official background check i feel you have a better shot and hr wont ding you if all your interview feedback is positive (not to mention, is it illegal in ny to discriminate based on politics?)

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:26 pm

ruski wrote:what about changing the name on your resume. use a nickname where the search won't come up.

you may have to fill out some forms at the firm (and here of course you must use your legal name) but at least hr won't be able to screen you BEFORE inviting you for an interview. interviewers also wouldn't be able to see it. it would only come up in a formal background check after they decided to give you an offer (even then it might not if there is no 'googling applicant's name' policy). if it comes up during the official background check i feel you have a better shot and hr wont ding you if all your interview feedback is positive (not to mention, is it illegal in ny to discriminate based on politics?)


My last name is hard to pronounce, really, really hard. People botch it all the time. That's an excuse to change it. What if I changed my legal name to one back into my ancestry? I don't think using a fake name on one's resume is going to work, particularly when my email address, transcript, etc. all use my real name.

If I changed my legal name, my old name would only come up on a background check; by that time, the firm would already know I am a perfectly normal, functional, open-minded urban human being.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby badaboom61 » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:47 pm

If I were you I would just embrace it. Most firms understand that people have a wide range of political views, and they write all sorts of crazy things while in college. Some firms will have very liberal hiring partners, who will immediately be turned off by that and not hire you; others will have conservative hiring partners who will appreciate you taking a stand on an unpopular issue. There will be conservative lawyers everyone, and firms in the south and Texas are brimming full of them. Apply broadly, understand that there will be a few rejections because of this, and don't let it bother you too much.

Unless I'm misreading the OP, and you're saying you completely changed views and now support gay marriage. If so, why not write a blog post like "Why my views on gay marriage changed" and get it to the top of google?

dudders
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby dudders » Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:57 pm

If this was several years back and is no longer on your resume, they might not even think it's you.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:01 pm

badaboom61 wrote:If I were you I would just embrace it. Most firms understand that people have a wide range of political views, and they write all sorts of crazy things while in college. Some firms will have very liberal hiring partners, who will immediately be turned off by that and not hire you; others will have conservative hiring partners who will appreciate you taking a stand on an unpopular issue. There will be conservative lawyers everyone, and firms in the south and Texas are brimming full of them. Apply broadly, understand that there will be a few rejections because of this, and don't let it bother you too much.

Unless I'm misreading the OP, and you're saying you completely changed views and now support gay marriage. If so, why not write a blog post like "Why my views on gay marriage changed" and get it to the top of google?


I have strongly changed my views on gay marriage and other social issues as a result of life experiences. However, I am still staunchly right-wing in most economic areas. This adds an unnecessary layer of complication since that conservative organization (it's huge. You have likely heard of it) included my name on a lot of things, including economic and non-political topics. But the blog idea is a great one. I am already working on it.

Also, taking the stuff off the organization's website will not help much. Most of the Google results actually come from third parties, including some very, very assinine ones that would likely refuse out of principle.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:40 pm

If all else fails, http://www.reputation.com

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Kikero
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Kikero » Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:53 pm

dudders wrote:If this was several years back and is no longer on your resume, they might not even think it's you.


This. Unless there is a picture or bio of you, they might not know it's the same person. I know you said you have a fairly unique last name, but there are a lot of people in the world. I have a pretty uncommon last name too (I've never met someone with the same last name that I wasn't related to), but searching around on the internet I've found several people with the same first and last name as me.

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Bildungsroman
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Bildungsroman » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:16 pm

I personally like the suggestion that you change your name. That's probably the least stupid and ridiculous suggestion. I suggest Dick Hertz.

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby jdhonest » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:28 pm

You should marry a guy to show that you've really changed. Preferably a vegetarian Black Jewish Democratic Peace Activist who practices Buddhism and works for the ACLU.

Or you can go through all the trouble of having your name changed. How does that sound, Mr. Hertz? Or do you prefer Dick? The answer in either case should now be a resounding, "yes!"

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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:30 pm

Depending on what the columns were, this could actually be a positive for you. I'm in a similar situation--I wrote opinion columns for a newspaper for a few years, some on potentially inflammatory topics. The few employers who have mentioned it have just said that they liked that more of my writing was available online and complimented me on my writing. I wouldn't stress too much over it.

concurrent fork
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Re: Concerned about right-wing wacko Google footprint

Postby concurrent fork » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:55 pm

Holly Golightly wrote:I, on the other hand, would not want to hire someone who is on the record being anti-gay marriage.

So, anyone who closely adheres to a major religion? As long as they respect their colleagues in the office who cares?




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