Did Your Internet Persona Walk In The Door Before You Interviewed?

Did Your Internet Persona Walk In The Door Before You Interviewed?

unnamedMuch has been said on this topic, but it bears repeating: prospective employers with even the slightest interest in hiring you will have looked you up online – sometimes even before your first in-person interview. Many candidates first begin thinking of this and covering their Internet tracks – so to speak – when their active employment search begins. But, did you know that it might be too late?

The online search, to which I am referring here, may be something as simple as:  Entering one’s name into any generic search engine, and simply sifting through the yielded search results.

In a perfect world, the yielded search results should only showcase the candidate’s positive attributes.  Everyone by now is aware that scandalous posts from a misspent weekend in the Sin City or bad-mouthing a previous employer could leave a negative impression of you and may even cost you the job.  And again, many candidates feel like they are covered if they have remembered to set all social media settings to “private” or “friends only”. But in today’s overly-connected world it is growing increasingly difficult for people to keep track of all of their connections, and remember everyone they’ve friended/followed/allowed to follow/etc.

So what should you do? Go Page One Positive!

I am by no means suggesting that one should be a ghost.  But, why not make your first search results your best?  Studies show that people rarely go past the first page when Googling. Most admit to accepting the first few results they uncover, and moving on.  So, instead of only remembering the “social” aspect of social media when posting, spend time building a professional profile. Make sure that when someone Googles your name, they see your employable qualities on page one.

How to have your hireable persona show up on page one:

  • Show off!
    • Build a website that showcases your professional skills and interests.
    • Share relevant business content on LinkedIn
    • Blog your impressive (read: relevant) opinions
    • Tweet your impressive (read: relevant) opinions
  • Respect others with similar career interests.
    • Like relevant content on LinkedIn
    • Retweet others’ impressive blogs
    • Link back to others’ blogs on your website
    • Participate in networking groups, online discussions, etc. (Carefully!)
  • Ensure that all public images are professional
    • Have a great, clear, and professional LinkedIn profile picture
    • Consider that most default profile pictures are set to “public”, so keep yours neutral at worst, professional at best.

Other things to keep in mind:
For some employers, a social media presence or an Internet footprint of an employee is a must – not having any online presence leads some employers to believe that the candidate may be hiding something.

Remember that not everyone uses a search engine. Many employers will go straight to the source, and more than likely look up potential candidates on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, so that they can get an indication of the candidate as a person.

No matter what platform you choose to expose your personal skills/interests, keep in mind…
1. Do not post anything that you would not want a future employer seeing. You’re working for a super “cool” company now, but when times change, is anything you’re saying online likely to be a deal-breaker for a future workgroup?

2. DO NOT and I repeat once again, DO NOT depend on your Facebook privacy settings since they are constantly changing. Also, today’s friend can be tomorrow’s future employer’s sister. Do you know all of your friends’ friends?

3. Remove or un-tag yourself from anything that could be seen by an employer as unprofessional. Enjoy the moment. Laugh with your pals. Then, untag.

4. Have a heyday sharing/posting/tweeting content which highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way!

If you like my blog, feel free to share it. Of course, only after you Google me and tell me what you learned!

Harpreet Singh About the author