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How Facebook posts can impact your application.
What would Recruiters and prospective employers find out about you on the internet? & what is the digital reputation you are creating?
Whether you agree or not, whatever personal information exists about you on the internet could hinder or help your professional aspirations. We constantly hear of reports of individuals losing relationships, sponsorships, or even jobs, as a result of controversial comments posted on social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, are all easily accessible, and very public, platforms to connect with others and to freely express opinions on whatever subject, or target, comes to mind.
Gone are the days when you could separate your personal life from your professional reputation. Whatever you post online, or is posted about you, may become part of your ‘digital footprint’; remember the internet is vast and permanent (Microsoft). According to Cross-Tab/Microsoft, online reputation is defined as “the publicly held social evaluation of a person based on his or her behaviour, what he or she posts, and what others (such as individuals, groups, and Web services) share about the person on the Internet” (Cross-Tab, 2009).
In 2009, Microsoft commissioned Cross-Tab to examine the “expanding role of online reputation in both professional and personal lives”. The study explores “how Recruiters and HR professionals use online reputational information in their candidate review processes” and some of the findings are shared here:
The Recruiters and HR professionals surveyed are not only checking online sources to learn about potential candidates, but they also report that their companies have made online screening a formal requirement of the hiring process.
Of U.S. Recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 70% say they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Though not as frequently, respondents from the U.K. and Germany report the same trend (Cross-Tab, 2009).
According to Microsoft, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself the following questions before posting anything on a social media platform in order to protect yourself and others:
Could this hurt others?
Could this endanger opportunities for my future?
Your Facebook page paints a vivid picture of who you are; what is important to you; who you socialise with; what you think and say about employers, etc.; this shapes what others think about you, including what the Recruiter viewing your page thinks of you.
What can you do to create a positive online reputation?
Search your name on search engines and social media sites and updates sites like LinkedIn etc. to constructively manage your online reputation and identity. This is a great way to check if there are other people who share your name and maybe confused for you. If this is the case, look for ways to differentiate you, e.g. use your middle name or initial.
Be mindful of the types of posts you’re making: are they constructive, optimistic, and professional? Are you presenting yourself favourably? Do they showcase your knowledge and professional credentials?
Be firm about curbing negativity and comments that could hurt you and/or others. This is especially important when connections and friends post negative or controversial items on your Facebook page.
It is essential to manage your social media or online reputation; the cost of not doing so could mean missing the opportunity of acquiring your dream job.
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