i know you googled me, but i swear that isn't me throwing up gang signs or pitching for AAA baseball in Cincinnati.
November 27, 2012 6:57 PM   Subscribe

i share a somewhat random name with a miscreant from the midwest. when i google my name, i get a mixed return of my stats and his; his being mostly juvenile youtube vids of him skateboarding and flipping off the camera. i KNOW employers in my field google search/research online profiles heavily. what to do?

this kid is somewhere in the range of 18-22 and he has a pretty strong online presence, as most in his age range are apt to. i do as well, and 99.99% of my googleable images/online profiles are locked down and clean. don't talk to me about privacy settings, i'm already there. it's the fact that a google search of my name turns up this dbag with tag lines such as: "the mutha fuckin dirty bros!", or..."ps_im_awesome is in jail after landing in a scuffle with local police". i am SO worried that recruiters, etc. will see these tags and immediately discredit me. has anyone dealt with this issue specifically? i know i can't really write the kid a cease and desist letter because he's just living his 20 yr old life. ultimately wondering if there is a way to distance myself online or what to say to a potential recruiter during the job application process. do i bring it up first? do i let them ask me?
posted by ps_im_awesome to Work & Money (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Establish your own web presence, with your resume / a website / linked in / whatever. Include distinguishing factors - if this person is 18-22 and in the midwest, be clear that you're a different age and elsewhere. Then, it will be obvious to whoever is searching that there are two people with the same name. Problem solved.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:04 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't worry, at all. You are not the first person to share a name with a person who isn't yourself. Recruiters, HR folks, etc, are not going to google your name, see him, and immediately think "oh, ps_im_awesome is an immature idiot we don't want around." If, say, he'd gone to your alma mater, or was from your home town, or had anything else that might imply he was you, you might worry a little bit. But you say he's "From the midwest" implying you're not - in other words, someone looking for you will find him, and almost definitely conclude that he's obviously not you. So don't worry about it. Don't bring it up. In the very unlikely event it's ever mentioned to you, you can laugh and say "oh, yeah, there's some skateboarder kid who shares my name, isn't that a hoot?"

For what it's worth, I share a name with someone who - in a region I don't live in, but which many of my coworkers do - was a major local business leader who died an infamous and grisly death. I am obviously not him and therefore this has never been the slightest issue.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:05 PM on November 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

If there are videos, then that's a good thing. It'll be immediately, glaringly obviously that this person is not you (assuming you're not 20, too).

Also, think of it this way: anyone Google-savvy enough to regularly conduct Google background checks knows that this happens all the time.
posted by acidic at 7:08 PM on November 27, 2012

I'm speculating that you're stressing about this because you're looking for a job or thinking about it, and you don't want potential employers to rule you out for any reason whatsoever. I can empathize, but flip it around: imagine an employer who googles your name and finds two people, one of which fits the information in your resume/c.v. and/or cover letter, the other of which is quite different... and assumes that you're the same person. Do you really want to work for them? If I were to find myself out of work, I'd be happy to find a decently-paying job just about anywhere, but I'd be hesitant if a prospective employer told me that they'd done an online search for my name (which is not terribly uncommon), found the #1 result (a specialty retail store in another country), and wondered why I'd applied for a job outside my area of experience and so far from home.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:12 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't worry about this at all, assuming you're not the same age and from the midwest. I share a professional name with a somewhat woo therapy person and a state official; it is extremely obvious from basic googling which one of us is which. It's more likely they'll google your name as well as your city or the last company you worked for, I imagine; most people don't have a unique name so something needs to get thrown into the search as well. Having a clean and clear personal website isn't a bad idea anyway as a way to have a solid portfolio available for job searches.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:16 PM on November 27, 2012

Recruiters can tell the difference. Plus, LinkedIn. Make a LinkedIn page up-to-date and keep updating... it is likely to come up among the top links in Google.
posted by zennie at 7:19 PM on November 27, 2012 [3 favorites]

Do you at least have a different middle name than him? Maybe the article about him being arrested included his full name. If he's, say, PS Wayne Awesome and you're PS Lee Awesome, make a point to include your full name or at least your middle initial on your resume and LinkedIn page. If potential employers come across the rap sheet of PS Wayne Awesome and a few other salacious web things simply attributed to PS Awesome in the Midwest, they'll probably assume that those belong to the other guy.

If you have the same full name, yeah, that's tougher. But since you're calling this kid a "kid," I take it you're at least a little older than him. If you think from his web presence that it's obvious that he's 18-22, then can you make sure your resume has clues that show you're older? You don't have to put your actual birthday or anything, but including your graduation years can help with that.
posted by lisa g at 7:20 PM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

How old are you? Shouldn't it be clear to potential employers that you are a different person? Like... you live in Not The Midwest, for example?

I have a friend with this problem. She is a particle physicist. Her doppelnamer is a porn star. Google Image Search brings up an interesting mixed bag - but NO ONE thinks she's balancing equations in a bikini.

I wouldn't worry about it a lot.
posted by maryr at 7:22 PM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: my linkedin profile IS the first return. i have a very clear and obvious social media presence that is distinct (after some light inspection) from his. however, it's the google search returns that have "me" wrassling with local law enforcement that worry me. just to see that pop up in a search engine return is worrisome. i am a hiring manager myself and have googled potential hires and have rejected their applications based on police log information, etc that i have found on the web. granted, i really try to make sure i have the correct individual, but i can't hope that all recruiters will follow suit. i guess i'm looking for some disclaimer or verbiage to pose to recruiters before they google-stalk me. unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) i am in my mid 30's but look younger. and there are old photos of me from highschool punk rock bands out there on the interwebs, over which i have no control. if an HR person was trying to make a connection, it wouldn't be out of the question that i was the same individual as who i am trying to distance myself from. i'm seeing that the answer to my question is: "don't sweat it, answer up front and know who they've looked at online". which i will do.
posted by ps_im_awesome at 7:38 PM on November 27, 2012

Best answer: If you're super concerned about this, add your middle initial. I have a completely unique name and several sites come up, but when I throw in my middle initial the only thing that comes up is Facebook (because I use my middle initial on there).
posted by DoubleLune at 7:40 PM on November 27, 2012 [4 favorites]

Check your MeMail.
posted by lalex at 7:43 PM on November 27, 2012

Ha, same deal happened to me: pretty unique name -- only a few of us in the US that I know of -- and one's got a criminal record, with the court documents showing up in search results.

Fortunately, I was able to snag my fullname.com, which I've built out, so that comes up first in the results. For a while, the little 'about me' blurb on my home page jokingly mentioned that I lived in terror someone out there would think I loved Bone Thugz and had a criminal record. Now I don't worry about it anymore, because my online presence is pretty clear and distinct from the other guy.
posted by losvedir at 7:49 PM on November 27, 2012

You don't want to work for somebody dumb enough to Google your name and assume that the 20 year old skatepunk on YouTube is the same person as the 30 something professional whose resume is in their inbox. Google filtering works both ways.

In other news, I've been online since 1995 and still haven't been mistakenly offered a movie or TV role.
posted by COD at 5:27 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

i am a hiring manager myself and have googled potential hires and have rejected their applications based on police log information, etc that i have found on the web. granted, i really try to make sure i have the correct individual, but i can't hope that all recruiters will follow suit.

If potential new employers are not competent enough to do this, then you do not want to work for them. I just fed my own name into Google; if someone hiring me were dubious because I might be a New Zealander meth dealer currently serving a twelve-year sentence, I would be just as happy to wait for someone else to hire me.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:26 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Creepy talking houses that gave children chocolate...   |   Relaxed, happy places to do stressful things Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.