A few years’ ago I was interviewing a candidate for an executive position at a newspaper (publisher). I was unnerved when the candidate opened up the conversation with, “So, I understand you’re a triathlete”. While I had, in fact, participated in a triathlon as part of a team in 2003 (as a swimmer), I certainly didn’t consider myself a triathlete and was mystified at how this person could know that about me. Turns out he Googled me and found the posted times from the triathlon’s organizers. Freaky. It got me thinking about the pros and cons of looking up job candidates on the internet. While it might be a useful thing to do before interviewing or contacting candidates, it’s also potentially hazardous. What if I find something out about the candidate that should definitely not be considered when considering them for a job (i.e. their religious or political beliefs, sexual orientation, etc.)? I’d like to think I (or the managers I support) wouldn’t be influenced by something discovered online — but it seems a slippery slope. On the other hand, don’t I have an obligation to the business to make sure I’m not bringing in someone who may be totally inappropriate for the job? I have decided to go for middle ground and only look at “professional” sites on candidates — their bio on their current employer’s web site, their LinkedIn profile, published articles, etc.