If you’re struggling to find employment, contrary to what the news may tell you, the economy may not be to blame. A 2010 Microsoft report found that 79 percent of recruiters and hiring managers conduct online research about job applicants. The research, which “comes from interviews with over 1,200 hiring and recruitment managers and 1,200 consumers in the United States, the U.K., Germany and France” (1) begs the question: what would a recruiter find out about you? Your online profile may be the cause for the lack of call backs and the one thing stopping you from the coveted interview and gainful employment. The good news is that there are a number of steps that you can take to better manage and improve your online reputation to help you boost your chance of success.
How to Safeguard Your Privacy
Prior to the Internet, the only information a recruiter could get from you was information you freely gave them. Nowadays, however, a quick Google search may reveal all sorts of data that a recruiter has no business knowing, but may use against you, such as information about your family, your religious views, political views, finances, medical condition or affiliations. While some affiliations may prove favorable (a recruiter may look favorably on a former Boy Scout), this information can also prove harmful. The following steps will help you safeguard your privacy and improve your odds.
One of the easiest ways to find out what the recruiter might see is by googling yourself. Scan the first few pages of search results, looking for any unfavorable connections.
Enable Google Alerts
Set up a Google alert of your name. Anytime something is published that includes your name you will be notified via email.
Check Credit Report
Per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus. Take advantage of this and request a copy of your credit report every four months to ensure that your credit report is accurate. Alternatively, you can elect to pay a monthly fee to have 24 hour access to your report. Delinquencies can greatly affect your hiring appeal.
Make all Public Profiles Private on Social Networking Sites
If you utilize Facebook and Myspace odds are that the recruiter has seen your page along with the sexy pictures, asinine comments and intimate confessions. Make all social profiles private or opt for discretion when posting.
Avoid Posting Certain Content
While you may think your comment is clever, a recruiter may not. Consider posting with a pen name. Otherwise, choose your words carefully. While you are, and should be, free to speak your mind, understand that doing so may have consequences.
Contact Web Site Admin to Remove Content
See something you don’t like? Contact the web master and request that he remove it.
Create Positive Content
Start a professional blog, create a professional Google profile or create an account with LinkedIn to help boost the positive search results and push the less appealing data further down the list of results.
Microsoft, Research shows online reputation matters, retrieved Jun 8, 2010