3 years ago there was a criminal investigation that resulted in my name being published in the news papers. Although the case went to court the charges were dropped. My online reputation was basically destroyed. My family suffered financially from the legal costs and the public shaming has sure been more than a fair amount of punishment. Still the negative impact on my life continues and I can not find distance from this past.
In the past 3 years I've spent a great deal of time and money trying to push down the negative content. I have been told that the offending domains are in the top 15% rankings, and getting the content pushed off the first page for my unique name is likely never going to happen.
I've tried the following to push down the content:
- I've contacted REP management companies which all seem to charge a large monthly fee and if you don't pay the Google results will revert back
- I've created domains with my name and started blogs
- I updated all my profiles SO, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter with my real-name in the URLs to try to push it down
- I started several blogs (Tumblr, Medium, Blog) with my real-name
- I created as many back-links to the above to raise their rankings
After doing the above changes to my online reputation Google responded by moving the newspaper articles higher up on the first page. I had made things worse.
I live in Canada, and there are no laws pertaining to Google search results that would allow me to have the content removed.
I've consulted with lawyers but none have been interested in tackling a major newspaper, and the costs/time are way outside my capabilities.
I struggle now almost daily trying to find an approach to my job hunt that will be effective. I wish to only have the same opportunities as everyone else and not to be faced with early rejection or bias or discrimination.
I have found other similar questions on this site, but the majority pertain to criminal background checks. Keep in mind, that I am struggling to even get this far into the hiring process.
For example; How should I address a non-violent criminal record when applying for jobs?
The accepted answer advocates early full disclosure, but this has not been working for me.
- I get a lot of interviews scheduled, and then cancelled. I never get a chance to share my side.
- The person performing the interview is often not the deciding person, and any explanations I give are not forwarded.
- If I share this information at the start of an interview, then it consistently sets this dark tone to the interview. I've just never had success with early disclosure in the interview.
- If I wait till the end of the interview to share the information, then they just shut up. No one wants to discuss it or ask questions. And since the interview already took up most of the time I'm not really left with much room to give a lengthy explanation.
- I get requests for second interviews by a different person, who then cancels.
- People assume I have a criminal record which I don't.
- I struggle to find representation using an agency or recruiters.
- I have seen many agencies tell me it was nothing personal when they would no longer represent me given the high number of interview cancellations.
To make matters worse. I have overused my references. I am asked for more references by more employers than anytime in my past. Employers are also being more specific about which references they want. Forcing me into positions where I have no references (i.e. I can't find out what happened to my last boss as he's no longer with the business).
I have thought of a legal name change, but in Canada all name changes are published online by the government. So this will be included in search results when someone Googles your name. Furthermore, my entire employment history is connected to my real name.
What action can I take to reduce the impact of this bad press?