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On StackExchange, some people use their real names, while others hide behind a username.

I was wondering, do hiring committees look at a candidate's StackExchange account and consider the candidate's activity on these accounts?

I know committees look at my website, they openly mention this during interviews. They also ask me about things that they would only know about after seeing my website. I have yet to connect my real identity with my StackExchange account, because of my reservations about this.

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    Anything that shows up when you google someone's name is fair game. So I would say yes, of course, this would happen either by design or happenstance. – Dan Romik May 7 '16 at 6:41
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    I would say NO. If you don't link your SE account to your website, its difficult to know the real user behind the fancy user name. – Coder May 7 '16 at 9:39
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    In that case, if the user is too frequent then Google shall list the results if you search as "User Name stackexchange". But, I think, which recruiter has this much time to google about you on multiple platforms such as SE, Quora etc. @MassimoOrtolano – Coder May 7 '16 at 10:01
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    I am the chair of my department's hiring committee. Hiring committees (or at least hiring committee chairs) definitely google for candidates' names and use the results are (a small) part of their deliberation. – JeffE May 7 '16 at 16:10
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    "Let's see...oh look, they have an SO account...hmm...woah, look at that rep! They must spend all of their time on the site and none of it doing research!" ;-) – tonysdg May 8 '16 at 1:37
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Yes, it can happen, though I expect it is rare.

I was recently asked in a job interview whether I was the Tara B on math.SE. The interviewer who asked the question is also on math.SE, and we have answered some of the same questions. I have met him in real life and e-mailed him once to ask for a paper, but I had the impression that he primarily remembered me from stackexchange. (I did get the job, but I doubt that my SE participation was a significant factor.)

(Incidentally, this also demonstrates that even if you only use part of your name on SE, your account might still be noticed.)

5

As Dan Romik said, anyone can look up anything on Google, so a StackExchange account would possibly be looked at. But I would say that this will only occur rarely, if at all. And it certainly would not amount to a formal indication of either acceptance or rejection.

On the other hand, a StackExchange presence is part of one's online presence as a scientist and so may effect your overall scientific presence, prior to ones application for a job. But it will not be a significant part of the hiring process had the hiring committee do not know your stackexchange participation in advance.

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    +1 for the second paragraph. I have a personal example of the first sentence (see my answer), and I expect that the second sentence would be true in most cases. – Tara B May 10 '16 at 0:19

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