sweeping your online presence - personal online reputation management for the job search

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  • Lindsay Olson

    PR & Marketing Recruiter

    Sweeping Your Web Trail

    Paradigm Staffing

    The Ladders
    March 18, 2009


  • Todays Webinar

    Why the Internet is an important reputation
    and personal branding tool

    Overview of the Web 2.0 tools used for recruiting
    and tips on how to keep your profiles clean

    How to monitor your online reputation

    How to deal with negative information



    Today the Ladders invited me to speak to you about conveying a professional image online. Were going to talk about:

  • practice


    Tom Peters, a business management author, first published an famous article in Fast Company magazine about personal branding in 1997.

    He says that regardless of age, position, or business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. He believes We are the CEOs of Me, Inc. and to be in business today, our most important job is to be the head marketer for our own brand.

    If you havent read this article, I encourage you to because it is just as true today as it was 10 years ago.

    Probably even more so now with the technology available at our fingers tips thats allows us with the just a click of a button to publish anything online.

  • Social technologies change the approach to the traditional job search and give us a powerful tool to enhance our personal brand.


    I started recruiting in the late 90s when job boards were just starting up. How we went about sourcing talent was very different. We didnt rely so heavily on email and electronic resumes. To advertise our open position, we took out ads the help wanted sections of newspapers and magazines. Or we would buy phone directories from companies or cold call our way in to find talent.

    Within a short time, there was a shift and the job search was brought to the web.

    Candidates became much more visible with the emergence of job boards. So we moved from putting our advertising dollars in newspapers and we brought it online with the job board advertising.

    Now there has been another shift. Of course, all the old ways still exist, but new tools have made our searching capabilities far more powerful.

    In the recent years, we have seen Web 2.0 tools grow immensely. Recruiters and companies are using LinkedIn and Facebook to source talent and to investigate peoples background during the screening process.

    Search engines have become the new resume. The impression you leave on a potential employer prior to an interview is not longer in the words you decide to put on your resume. Now lies within whatever someone can piece together about your story online - its not even necessary to have that resume in hard before forming an opinion.

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    In the workplace and in our personal lives, the things that we share online define who we are to some extent. This can be a fortunate or unfortunate circumstance depending on how you view it. I personally see it as a great opportunity.

    Your profiles on all these sites -- like what you see here on this screen -- show up on search engines when your name is attached to it. And the content we find inside gives us information on how you view yourself and how you may like others to view you. And its not just your Facebook or MySpace profile Im talking about, its everything that is out there tied to your name.

    These tools are not just as a new way to communicate with your friends and family, but are also important instruments to create and enhance your personal brand and reputation.

  • of hiring managers use social networks
    to research profiles (+11% from 2006)

    of hiring managers dismissed a candidate
    based on what they found (out of the 22%)

    of hiring managers found information
    that was used to hire a candidate

    CareerBuilder Study





    Based on a 2008 nationwide survey of more than 3,100 employers, CareerBuilder.com says 1 in 5 employers are using social networking sites to research job candidates -- thats 22% up from just 11 percent in 2006.

    That number could quickly rise to nearly a third -- if it hasnt already -- and this trend is only going to continue.

    Of this 22% of hiring managers who use social networks, 34% eliminated a candidate based on their findings and 24% found positive information that was used in successfully hiring a candidate.

  • of recruiters use search engines to learn more
    about candidates.

    have eliminated a candidate from consideration based on the information uncovered online.

    of executives found information they fear if seen could eliminate them from consideration
    of a new job.

    Another Study





    Another career site did a similar study last year.

    They interviewed 100 executive recruiters

    They found that 77% of the recruiters admitted to using search engines to learn more about candidates and 35% of the recruiters eliminated a candidate from consideration because of the information they discovered online.

    They also surveyed executives about how they felt about their own online web results and 16% said they feared if some of their results were seen by recruiters they could be eliminated considered from a new position.

  • of candidates posted information about them drinking or using drugs.

    of candidates posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information.

    0f candidates had poor communications skills.


    Top 3 things that turn employers away





    There are several reasons candidates are dismissed from consideration based on this information:

    The top three reasons career builder found were: candidates posted info or photos of drinking or drug use, or they posted provocative and inappropriate photos or information, or they demonstrated poor communications skills.

    Other reasons included:

    bad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employee

    Lying about qualifications

    Discriminatory remarks discriminatory remarks related to race, gender, religion, etc.

    Unprofessional screennames

    Links to criminal behavior

    And sharing confidential information from previous employers

  • of candidate background supported their qualifications for the job.

    of candidates had great communications skills.

    of candidates were a good fit for the

    companys culture.


    Top 3 things that helped candidates out





    On the other hand, social networking profiles gave some job seekers an edge over the competition.

    The survey showed that employers like to find information that supports the data found on a resume. Good communication skills and information that gave insight into how the candidate might fit into the company culture were also both very helpful.

    Other reasons included:

    conveying a professional image

    Great references posted by others

    Showing a wide range of interests and creativity

    Links to awards and other accolades

    This research isnt exactly groundbreaking, but I think it shows how important having a clean presence online is for your job search.

    You need to assume that employers are Google searching you and viewing your profiles on these social networks. Even if these numbers were much lower, say 5%, it would be a big deal. As long as any recruiter or employer is using social networks and researching candidates online, then it matters!

  • Google Never Forgets

    Everything you do now ends up in
    your permanent record.The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if youre on Candid Camera, because you are.



    Seth Godin is a best selling business and marketing author. He also authors one of the most highly trafficked marketing blogs online.

    He wrote a post a few weeks ago about a friends experience searching for a new housekeeper online.

    His friend had posted the position on Craigslist. She got a ton of responses and narrowed it down to three interesting resumes. Before calling, she Googled each persons name.

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    For the first candidate, the search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. "binge drinking. was the first listed hobby.

  • I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and Im annoyed by it. Ill certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings.


    The woman moved on to search for the next candidate and the search turned up a personal blog. The most recent entry from the candidate explained how she was applying for some menial jobs that were below her and how shed certainly quit the minute she sold a few paintings.

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    And the third candidate came up with six matches - the last one was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.

    All three strikes!

    The point is: Google never forgets.

    Once any information is out there in its digital form, you have to assume its there to stay. Especially on any websites that are indexed by Google. Even if you take the information down, itll be left in the cache. Its your job to know what is out there and to either clean it up or be prepared to defend it before judgement is passed.

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    You are probably thinking: Why bother even investing in an online