A recent survey by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com shows that researching of potential candidates on social networks by managers and human resource staff, has doubled in the past year alone. Two thousand six hundred sixty seven managers and human resource employees took part in the survey and were asked whether the information they found on social networks regarding the candidate had an affect on their decision. More than a third of the participants said that what they had found on social networks influenced their decision to pass on a candidate.The websites employers were searching through included facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Myspace and the number one factor that deterred employees was provocative photos followed by references of alcohol and drug use. Other negative elements potential employers were looking for were bad mouthing of previous employers and poor online communication skills. Employers do realize that people lead private lives. At the same time, they also prefer to hire people who are responsible enough in order to maintain a somewhat professional online reputation. Being careless at managing your own image online does not portray a job applicant as someone who would improve the image of his or her employer.
What can people do to maintain a positive online reputation?
- Create top positive search engines results that you can control. LookupPage allows professionals to create a positive result that ranks high on major search engines and includes additional information regarding the job applicant as well as provide links to reports, images and recommendation letters. Other forms of content that can project positively on a potential candidate include blogging or twitting about a topic that has to do with the position one is trying to obtain.
- Keep private profiles private. Social networks (including Twitter) offer various privacy settings that allow users to be visible only to friends and family who obtained the approval of the user.
- Consider who your Facebook friends are. Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Adding people from your office as your friends on facebook means they can have access to most of your conduct on the social network. This has often backfired when people forgot their boss is also their facebook friend.
- Keep track of your Google image CV. Removing negative images from search results is a tedious task but is often well worth the effort.