Online presence

Online presence

Leading executive job search and recruiting network, ExecuNet, conducted a survey in 2007 and found that 77% of potential employers use various search engines to learn more about prospective candidates for jobs.

Of those that referred to Google and Yahoo! to look into the backgrounds of jobseekers, 35% resulted in eliminating a candidate based upon the information discovered online.

Another survey, again conducted by ExecuNet, showed that while 82% of possible job candidates expect companies and recruiters to do a web search of their names, a staggering 33% of job seekers have not carried out a search of their name via a search engine to determine what information, if any, of their professional and personal information exists online.

This is the follow up search that businesses are taking and is fast becoming a trend for employers to look further and check social networking sites prior to hiring any employee. This is beneficial for an employer due to the reasons of being able to scan for any illegal activity that a potential employee will have committed, inappropriate images, poor communication skills, or if any confidential information has been shared from a past employer.

Our advice to job seekers is as follows:

Search for yourself: Use a search engine and search for your name frequently to remain informed of what personal /professional information exists online
Screen names: Choose an appropriate screen name or online ID on any of your social networking sites
Review content: Always bear in mind that the inappropriate, funny posts and pictures that have been shared online could possibly fall onto the screen of any potential employer and may be the difference between being hired or not
Be honest: When creating any resume, ensure you are honest and don't lie about any academic achievements, company information and job titles, as these can be researched and compared
Keep past employer information confidential: Respect the confidentiality of your past employer and do not leak or reveal anything that shouldn't be released online
Proceed with caution: Be sure to review a social networking sites privacy policy before clicking that ‘I agree' button. Often people skip this and may be consenting to the site collecting any information from yourself
Friend requests: Don't accept just anybody who requests to be a friend on social networking sites as if that person is less desirable, a potential employer could overlook you and choose another candidate
While it is easy to delete the embarrassing photos online, it can be difficult to rid the internet of the traces of them. There are a variety of websites and search engines that store a cache of websites and their pages which can be archived through many years, thus leading to be impossible to delete your entire virtual footprint from the World Wide Web.

Social networking sites that are affecting the candidate screening process is essentially just the beginning of the practice being explored, and is set to expand in the future. It's imperative to be wise online as a future career could be on the line.