Having written about this topic before, I was not surprised when an employer recently told us about a potential candidate who "looks great on paper but has made a lot of negative posts on twitter about their previous employer". Needless to say, that candidate did not proceed to interview.
So, have you checked your online footprint recently? It may sound a bit egocentric, however searching for yourself online can be a wise career move. Your facebook profile may be set to "private", however that past drunken profile picture may still be visible to potential employers who are increasingly utilising the internet to do background checks on potential employees. Of course this could also work in your favour if you have appealing and professional results.
Sportspeople Recruitment scans social media profiles and undertakes a web search for candidates we are considering referring to a client. This is standard practice in 2017, so you should expect every employer (and potential employer) to be doing the same. More than 60% of employers use social networking sites to research potential new hires, according to latest (2016) survey findings, up from nearly a quarter in 2010.
Here are some tips to improve your online profile:
- Set your social media profiles to "private" and remove any incriminating photos/posts
- Create and manage a blog, or a professional LinkedIn profile, as search engines rank those extremely highly, which helps guarantee your site ends up on the first page of search results
- Remember that many posts online are permanent or very difficult to remove, so be thoughtful when you decide to post online (eg. comment in an online forum)
- Be prepared to answer to any incriminating information that can be found
- Search your name in combinations. Your profile may disappear amongst all the other John Smiths', however if searched with the name of a previous employer/school/hobby then you might become more visible
The impact of your photos and posts should not be underestimated, as you are being assessed on your culture-fit moreso than your skill set when it comes to social media background checking. Think of yourself as a 'brand' and anything that is accessible needs to be aligned with the brand image you want to portray. Whilst we always encourage a well thought out application tailored specifically to the role you are applying for, all that hard work can be undone with a quick search of your online history. It's well worth the effort to do a thorough search and clean-up.
AL - Sportspeople Recruitment
First Published 2016