Would the employer want to hire the cyber version of me?
You’ve done it, I’m sure, it’s inevitable. Everyone has at some point looked someone up on the Internet to find out more about the person. It could be a new co-worker, a flirt from last weekend or the employer you are meeting for an interview. Now imagine the fact that your potential new employers has researched your online you- a bit scary isn’t it?
So, how does your online identity affect your chances of getting a job?
Recent research shows that more than 52% of employers do google different candidates that have applied for a job. In other words, if you’ve applied for more than three jobs then there’s a good chance (or risk depending on how you see it) that at least one of the employers looked you up – consider yourself googled!
Hiring the wrong staff can turn out to be a costly mistake on the employer's part. The companies more likely to google you is either the really big ones or the really small ones. The larger enterprises because they usually have more means of doing it with HR departments and recruiters and the smaller companies simply because more is at stake when hiring.
However this is not to say that you can sit back and relax if you’re applying to a medium-sized company - curious employers are everywhere.
What is it they look for when running a background check on you?
This is the main goal for most employers. A lot of people tend to exaggerate or even lie in their résumés. Not a very good idea in general and especially not if someone can easily find out the truth on the Internet. So sweep your tracks, or maybe even better, just stay truthful in your CV/cover letter.
Personality does matter! Your alter ego online should reflect someone that employers could imagine working with and somehow also relate to, someone that will fit in with the rest of the colleagues and culture of the workplace.
About a third of the recruitment companies have rejected candidates due to what’s been found online. The three main reasons why employers selectively would discard applicants are:
1. inappropriate pictures or information
2. uploaded material with alcohol or drugs
3. if the person speaks badly about former employers, colleagues or clients
These are three good thumb rules to keep in mind when you start clearing out stuff about yourself online.
It’s equally important to show online!
In branches like IT, marketing, communications and fashion it’s crucial for the professional you to show online. Who you link to and what companies, people and articles you like and follow on social media are things that employers actually will keep an extra eye out for.
Interviews are not a natural environment for anyone- therefore it’s hard to show your true colours even if you try. Make sure to give the interviewer more than he or she asked for by for instance inviting them to visit your well-put-together Linked In.
There is only so much space in your CV/cover letter to persuade with your awesome personality: your alter ego online is a gateway for the employer to the real you. Here you have all the space in the world to describe your personality in pictures and text!
Who’s to say that all your Facebook pics need to be hidden? Show some well thought through personal stuff as well and create an online personality that fits your professional profile.
What can you do to rinse out all the nasty stuff from the internet?
Some things just won’t go away. It’s becoming more and more important to be conscious of what and how you share online. In 2012 the European Union decided upon “the right to be forgotten” constitution making it possible for people to file a petition to have their google facts erased. This shows that the question about freedom of speech online is becoming more of a relevant issue even on a large scale.
Some easy measurements to rinse out nasty stuff from the Internet:
Who can see what? Make sure to go through the settings on different social media channels. Just remember that it might look suspicious if a recruiter doesn’t find anything about the applicant.
Make sure your professional profile online is up-to-date! How long ago did you make some touches on your Graduateland profile? There’s always things to improve, take a look and make sure you’re promoting yourself in the best way possible.
Erase all old blog posts from when you were sixteen. It’s probably not thoughts and opinions you want to share with the world today.
Take out embarrassing photos and posted fun material your friends happily tagged you in. Delete them online or just make sure they’re hidden away properly for anyone to see.
Mind the language you use online. Swearing is not generally appreciated by any employer.
If you’re not too comfortable with making your own posts online- share relevant articles that mirror who you want to be and your personality. Start by browsing through the articles on Graduateland to get inspiration of what to share.
All in all, social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are great online tools for your professional profile as long as they are updated and being used in the proper way.
Take charge over your cyber-you and mould your online profile today!