What does your online reputation say about you?

Did you know it’s not only companies that have an online reputation? With social media so prevalent in today’s society who knows who is “Googling” your name!

Employers have started using social media in the hiring process and according to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 43% of hiring managers now use social media to screen candidates. These hiring managers also said they have found information that has caused them NOT to hire a candidate.

Thanks to social media, recruiters can easily (and anonymously) collect information that they would not be permitted to ask in an interview. Any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits however, take note, these are common profile questions on certain social media sites that some users have on public view!

So what are some of the things hiring managers look for when screening an applicant online?

Your professional image
The first thing most employers look for is what sort of image your online profiles portray. It’s important to keep in mind that prospective employers can see not only things you’ve posted, but also posts that you’re tagged in and things others have posted to your profile. In Facebook, if you would like to see what a potential employer would see on your profile, do the following:

  1. Go to your Facebook Profile
  2. Click on the 3 dots next to “Activity Log”
  3. Select “View As”
  4. Above your Cover Photo you will see the following statement: “This is what your timeline looks to: Public”

When you are searched for on Facebook, this screenshot is what people will see when they click on your name. Take some time to think about how your public Facebook profile would look to a potential employer. Are your photos professional? Is the information accurate? What sort of links are you sharing?

Also, remember when I mentioned that employers can also see posts that you’re tagged in and things others have posted to your profile? Well, they can also see the News Feed items you “Liked” if those feeds are PUBLIC. All they have to do is to go to the search bar on the top next to the Facebook Logo and type “Photos [Name of Individual] likes” and POOF… there goes those “pesky, maybe you don’t want people to see”, photos that YOU liked.

The key here is to always have in the back of your mind that your actions on social media are NEVER private (even if your settings are on private).

Your professional qualifications
Make sure that your online profiles match the information in your current resume because employers may use social media to verify your credentials or experience. The information you post on LinkedIn should match your resume in addition to the education you may have posted on Facebook and any other social media site. All these items should mirror each other!

Reasons NOT to hire you
On occasion, employers also use social networks to see if there are any reasons they shouldn’t hire you. The top reasons employers gave according to LifeHacker for pulling a candidate out of the job running after researching them online included:

  • Provocative or inappropriate images
  • Information about drinking or using drugs
  • A candidate bad-mouthing a previous employer
  • Poor communication skills
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion
  • A candidate who lied about qualifications

Clearly, it’s extremely important to THINK before you put anything online, be it a comment, photo or any other type of content. LifeHacker made the following suggestion to get a good idea of what employers might find when they research you online. Try doing a simple Google search on your name. Do this from a public computer or clear your browsing data first to make sure that you’re getting the same results that others would.

I HIGHLY recommend you Google your name and review your Facebook profile to get a better idea of the image you are portraying, the message you are delivering, and where your online reputation stands.

The following infographic, created by OnlineClasses.org, summarizes data from a Microsoft study and other sited research. Follow the flowchart closely to successfully manage your online reputation.

-Giang, V. (2013, July 5). 11 Common Interview Questions That Are Actually Illegal.Business Insider. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://www.businessinsider.com/11-illegal-interview-questions-2013-7?op=1#ixzz31yyCqbN
-Stenger, M. (2014, March 25). The Top 5 Things Hiring Managers Look For On Social Media. . Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/03/the-top-5-things-hiring-managers-look-for-on-social-media
-Cautious Hiring to Continue in the New Year, According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Job Forecast – CareerBuilder. (2013, June 27). Cautious Hiring to Continue in the New Year, According to CareerBuilder’s Annual Job Forecast – CareerBuilder. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=6%2F26%2F2013&id=pr766&ed=12%2F31%2F2013
-Berkman, F. (2012, September 14). To Share or Not to Share? That Is the Social Media Question. Mashable. Retrieved May 17, 2014, from http://mashable.com/2012/09/14/social-media-reputation/?WT.mc_id=en_my_stories&utm_campaign=My%2BStories&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter


One thought on “What does your online reputation say about you?

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