According to surveys done by CareerBuilder, Job Vite, and Execunet, over 50 percent of recruiters and hiring managers conduct online research on job seekers, before ever calling them in for an interview. Yet it can be challenging to be found online, especially if you share your name with dozens of people or even one well-known person.
If a hiring manager searches for you online, how can you be sure they will actually find you and not confuse you with someone with the same name? Becoming "digitally distinct" is now easier than ever thanks to Vizibility. AOL Jobs recently interviewed founder James Alexander to learn more about this valuable tool.
Q. What is Vizibility?
A. Vizibility helps people take control of their personal search results in Google. Our research shows that only 12 percent of search results are actually about the person being searched, which can lead to poor decisions and missed opportunities.
We help people make a killer first impression. With Vizibility, our users avoid mistaken identity and they easily get found online. When someone clicks a Vizibility SearchMe button, created by one of our users, we show accurate search results about them in one-click. And because we display the results right in Google, the person doing the searching can be confident the information displayed is authentic.
Q. How does Vizibility work?
A. It's hard to control what appears online, but with Vizibility, users can create the perfect, most accurate search for users in minutes. Through a simple wizard, users provide their name and an employer or two, and from this information we create a customized SearchMe link or button. This button or link can then be added to online profiles, bios, resumes, business cards and other places someone would like to be seen. We also offer a feature that allows users to select and rank their five most relevant results.
As someone changes jobs or gets promoted, they no longer have to worry about changing everything about themselves online, with Vizibility. SearchMe buttons and links always return the most up-to-date search results, without a user having to lift a finger. Every month we tell you exactly how your search results have changed so you can quickly address any issues.
With our premium service, we notify users instantly when they are Googled and from where, helping them stay on top of any interest in them. We also offer the option of buying an individual's name in Google that will ensure a SearchMe link will get top placement.
What was the inspiration for Vizibility?
The inspiration for Vizibility hit when I couldn't find myself in Google. I'm a guy with two first names, which makes my results difficult to find. I spent a great deal of time learning how the engine worked and experimented with the advanced search features (which fewer than 5 percent of people use because it's so hard).
Ultimately, I was able to create the perfect query for me that returned the right set of search results every time. The query was long and used a lot of Boolean jargon, but it worked. In an unintended tribute to the movie 'Minority Report,' I started calling this curated query a "PreSearch" because I built the search in advance of someone actually needing it.
I posted my PreSearch on LinkedIn -- and the light bulb went off!
In going through this process, I was struck by four things: First, using advanced search is just too time-consuming for most people; second, the ability to easily post or share searches didn't exist; third, even if someone could share their PreSearch, they would need to be able to change it from time to time (when they changed jobs or got married, for instance), and; fourth, a user also wants to know when their search results change and when they're being "Googled." All the ingredients were there for a new approach to people-based search.
Q. What's your favorite feature on the site?
A. The ability to choose and rank the top five most relevant results to display first, is one of my favorite things that we offer our users. This feature is great not only for our users, but for those doing the searching. It's reassuring to see someone's top five verified search results before you see all their Google results. My second favorite feature is receiving text message alerts whenever someone Googles me through my SearchMe button. It's a wonderful feeling knowing when people are interested in learning more about me, and what I've done.
Q. Can you share a success story about someone who used Vizibility?
A. Today when you Google my name, my Vizibility SearchMe link is the No. 3 result on the first page. Seeing as I couldn't find myself in Google before I started Vizibility, I'd say that's a fantastic success story in its own right. Of course it's gratifying to know that we're helping thousands of people solve a painful problem that can help them get that dream job, and deliver peace of mind knowing that people are finally seeing the right search results.
Vizibility user Larry Zimbler told us, "I find my Vizibility SearchMe link provides me a simple way to have potential clients learn more about me." Vizibility helps Eyad Khlaifat get more Arabic language students, because as Eyad explains "Vizibility helped me with getting found in Google." And Barbara Findlay Schenck thought her name was unique until she Googled herself and discovered, as she explains, that the "results [were] weighted down with links to people other than me. What's more, my last name is difficult to spell, which means many people use guesswork or make typos as they try to find me online. Finally with Vizibility the problem is solved with one easy click."
Q. What's on the horizon for Vizibility?
A. We have many new features and partnerships on the horizon. One new feature I'm very excited about, is the introduction of personalized QR codes in conjunction with a mobile version of Vizibility. Imagine being able to scan someone's business card or resume with your smartphone and instantly see their top five verified search results to learn more about them.
You'll also see Vizibility integrated into many more social networking and employment oriented websites. Our users can already easily add their SearchMe links to thousands of profile sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. But we're finding that these sites also want to proactively offer Vizibility to make it even easier. We're currently part of the offerings on 6 Figure Jobs, BlueSteps, RealMatch, MyLegal, Accounting Jobs Today, Bragfolio and others. By the end of the year, we'll be integrated into hundreds more.