Employers are increasingly using Internet reputation research to make hiring decisions. Below are some suggestions for monitoring your online reputation, creating a positive personal brand, and removing negative or misleading information.
With the rise of Web 2.0 sites like Facebook and Twitter, the Internet has become a valuable character reference: What you post online gives HR personnel insights into how you will fit into their business environments. Recent surveys show that approximately 80 percent of recruiting professionals incorporate online reputation research into their hiring process, and 70 percent have rejected a candidate due to something they found online. Therefore, online reputation management should be a top priority for all job seekers in today’s highly competitive job market. In this article we will discuss how your online social network could cost you a new job.
Locate personal data online
- The first places you think to look are also some of the first places an employer will look. Popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr are common employer destinations. Start with these sites, using the built-in privacy controls to manage what other people can find out about you.
- Next, conduct online research. You can safely assume that a potential employer will search for your name on Google. You should do this too, taking note of any negative content on the first one or two pages of results.
- Also pay attention to Google’s suggested search results. For example, if you begin to type “online reputation,” Google will suggest a variety of related searches such as “online reputation management” and “online reputation repair.” If the search suggestions for your name contain negative information, the employer may toss out your resume on the spot.
Eradicate negative information
There are a number of red flags that HR professionals look for online.
- If your blog posts and forum comments are poorly written, inappropriate, or defamatory, an employer is likely to pass you over.
- Additionally, any criticism of past employers is frowned upon, as are photos, videos, or other media that suggest you make destructive lifestyle choices.
Think about how your online social network could cost you a new job, before you make that next post.
In some cases, this information is easily eliminated.
- If you have posted questionable content on your blog or on YouTube, remove it.
- If someone has tagged you doing something embarrassing in a Facebook or Flickr album, delete the tag.
In other cases, it is much harder to eliminate negative information about yourself, especially if others have engaged in defamatory activities. You can request that information be removed, but this can be time consuming and is not always effective. In situations like these, you may need to engage in more proactive personal branding activities or hire a professional reputation management firm like ReputationDefender.
Address misleading information
Sometimes information can be erroneously connected to your online reputation. For example, someone with the same name may be posting questionable material that is then attributed to you by a potential employer. If this is the case, explain the situation up front. If appropriate, address this issue in your cover letter or on the phone.
Another solution to this problem is to build a personal brand that draws attention away from the misleading content.
- Providing relevant, well-written information is a good way to insure that employers find you and not somebody else.
- An up-to-date blog containing posts on your professional interests and achievements can often outweigh the negative impression caused by other postings.
- Writing an ongoing series of Twitter postings on topics of professional interest can also be useful.
Contact a professional
Many people are simply too busy to defend their online reputations. Maintaining a polished web presence can be a time-consuming task, and it is likely to become increasingly so with the ever-accelerating pace of Web 2.0 development. It also requires a certain degree of Web-savvy, so it is not surprising that young adults under 30 are more proactive about monitoring their online reputations than anyone else.
The situation is further complicated for professionals who work with the public. Evaluation websites like Rate My Professors often contain defamatory postings that hurt professionals such as doctors, dentists, and teachers. Because these sites receive so much traffic, it can be difficult for an individual to divert attention away from them.
That’s when you need to call on ReputationDefender. The world’s leader in online reputation management and personal privacy protection, ReputationDefender offers a range of services ranging from defamation and cyberbullying protection to personal branding and the removal of negative online content. Knowing how your online social network could cost you a new job, consider working with a professional service such as this one.
If you or someone you care about is having trouble finding a job because of less-than-admirable information posted online, contact ReputationDefender today to see how the company can work for you.