We Googled You (Case Commentary)

Privacy and Security

Article Snapshot


danah boyd, Diane Coutu, Michael Fertik and John Palfrey


Harvard Business Review, June 1, 2007


This paper asks if firms should hire a job candidate when online searches turn up controversial information about her.

Policy Relevance

Firms need to adapt to the Internet by being willing to hire strong candidates with a checkered online past, because firms that do not take risks will fall behind.

Main Points

  • Searching the Internet for information about job candidates is legal.

  • Some information spread over the Internet might be false, so if a search reveals something controversial, it is a good idea to ask the candidate if it is true.

  • Hiring standards need to adapt to the reality that people are not perfect.

  • In time, many young people will learn that it is not a good idea to post naked pictures of themselves online.

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