I Google You, Too

This just in via Invisible Adjunct: academic search committees routinely google their short list of candidates.

This came up in the infamous MLA thread, where an Anonymous Member of a Job Search Committee warned:
“I’ll be interviewing people at MLA, and, trust me, we’ve ‘Googled’ every job candidate to establish whether they are a good ‘fit’ for our institution. Watch what you say.”

Watch what you say, indeed. Does that mean I have materially harmed my chances at ever being hired because I post my political opinions strongly and most definitely NOT anonymously on this weblog? The Anonymous Member, who apparently doesn’t have the guts to name him/herself, seems to be suggesting that information gleaned from the internet can make or break a hire. Good little grad students should shut their mouths and utter polite platitudes.

I have news for search committees. Candidates google you, too. Anyone we’re scheduled to meet with, for that matter. We want to know all your interests so we can make polite conversation and ask intelligent and informed questions about your institution and department. During the course of this research, we might also find out about that embarrassing incident at a conference five years ago. We want to know if your department and your institution are a good fit for us. So, my advice to the Anonymous Member is, Watch What YOU Say. Those of us lower on the totem pole are listening too.

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