A recruiter’s guide to managing your online reputation
By now we’ve all seen the articles about ill-advised tweets, job-killing YouTube videos and Facebook pictures that should never have made it to the Internet.
Today, with so many places you can appear online, it’s important to manage your reputation.
A few simple tips to consider:
- Searching online profiles before hiring is now common practice by employers. Assume you will be searched before you’re called for an interview. Don’t let your online reputation disqualify you.
- Consider that anything that goes online could be there forever.
- Google yourself periodically. Go deep to look at everything that shows up.
- Manage your privacy settings. Be sure you understand what the settings mean.
- Watch whose photos you may be tagged in. On Facebook, check “Photos of You” under “Activity Log”. Untag yourself if necessary.
- Understand your current employer’s social media guidelines. It goes without saying that blasting out an unfavorable tweet about your company, boss or colleagues could be a problem. Even a good comment might be an issue. Did you just tweet about that cool new product that your company is about to unveil next week? Hmmm.
Remember, public companies have strict financial reporting requirements. Offhand comments on financial matters could have serious repercussions. Careful!
How to tidy up your online image
If you do a thorough search and everything comes up shiny and clean, your job is done. But what if there are school party pictures – hey, you won the keg contest, remember? What about remnants of a heated online discussion where you weren’t your mature best? How about that collection of dubious photos on the photo site? Time to make a list and do something about it.
Fix your Facebook, YouTube or Flickr collections
Wherever you have control, fix it. Make anything objectionable private or delete it – the sooner the better. Look for pictures, text and videos. For sites where you don’t have control, try contacting the Webmaster, blogger or content owner and ask to remove the information. Be specific about the page and section and ask for them to take it down as a courtesy to you. Tell them it doesn’t accurately represent you, and thank them in advance.
Can’t fix it? Bury it.
If that doesn’t work, the trick is to start creating new and positive content about yourself across various websites. Since search engines like “new” over “old”, this will start showing up on top in the results.
Start by creating or updating your profile on networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Zoominfo. Go to industry sites that have forums or blogs and participate. Comment on posts using your full name. Have you read any business books recently? Why not write reviews on the book sites such as Chapters/Indigo, Amazon or Goodreads?
If you have a website or blog, update it. On your blog consider adding industry news and a blog roll to other industry sites and blogs.
Your job is to “get out there” so that search engines have plenty of good new content to find about you and help you bury anything objectionable.
Monitor your name
Going forward, it pays to keep track of your name on the web. You can use free tools such as Talkwalker to monitor the web and send you emails whenever it finds your name. You never know if someone else is mentioning you (ex main squeeze writing memoirs online?).
Net takeaway: managing your reputation is critical
Assume everyone uses search engines. Before hiring you, your name will be searched many times. Be prepared.