Web site allows users to track ‘Google’ searches

With employers searching the Internet to learn about job applicants, students are getting savvy about their profiles on social networking sites.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 17 percent of employers who took part in the Job Outlook 2008 survey plan to use social networking sites in recruiting employees. Nearly two-thirds of those employers plan to advertise on sites and more than half expect to use the sites to network with potential candidates, according to NACE.

Kimshi Hickman, interim director of Alcon Career Center, an extension of University Career Services, said many employers use social networking sites to find future hires.

“Employers have reported to Career Services that they view Facebook profiles, and it does factor into their decision as to whether or not to bring a candidate in for an interview,” Hickman said. “Employers utilize interns from colleges to access blocked profiles.”

Ziggs.com is one of the latest social networking Web sites, but it also has a professional side. Ziggs allows users to build a profile, find and post jobs and see who is looking them up online.

Julia Bradley, vice president of marketing for Ziggs said Ziggs is an asset for students because students can find out which employers are looking them up online and how many times they search for their name.

“If you are a member of Ziggs and you can be Googled and found, then it will help you know if you are getting noticed by a company,” she said. “It’s a good sign if your Ziggs profile is found because then you can actually track where your resume goes and know it does not just go unnoticed and into a black hole.”

Ziggs users will receive instant e-mails every time someone looks up their name on any search engine – such as Google and Yahoo – and clicks on their profile. Ziggs alerts users as to where the searcher is located, what time the search happened, and what keywords were used to find them.

A map with red markers show Ziggs users all the locations in the world someone has looked at their profile. Users can zoom in all the way on the map and view the actual building that the person who searched their name was located.

According to Ziggs.com, the site was not created for the sole reason of finding who is searching for you, rather it was created as a place to “take control of your online image.”

Bradley said the first step in using Ziggs is to create a personal profile, then users can upload their resume, post work they want potential employers to see and create their own personal Web site using their name.

“Most hiring managers will Google you no matter what, so you want to make sure that you are found,” Bradley said. “Ziggs helps balance your Facebook profile; it is not just a resume, it is more personal and professionally minded which gives a graduating senior a step up on the competition.”

Users can pay $4.95 a month to have Ziggs move their profile up in Google and Yahoo searches so employers are more likely to find users’ professional Ziggs profiles before they come upon another Web site.

Ziggs has offered their professional services for about a year and a half, Bradley said.

Hickman said job seekers need to use good judgement in what they post in their online profiles. She said she has not heard of employers using Ziggs yet.

Senior finance major Zachary Harris said he takes down questionable Facebook pictures when job searching. He said he has always been warned by professors about keeping his online image clean when looking for jobs, but said he would not be interested in the services Ziggs has to offer.

Senior political science major Brittany Thomas said she would be interested in using Ziggs features during her job search to know which employers are looking her up and if she should follow up on them.

“If they are taking the time to look me up, then obviously they are taking some interest,” Thomas said.