You might ask, if somebody has the skills that an employer requires, why are all of the other criteria important? The short answer is that nowadays employers rarely hire just skills and are looking for much more of a complete package – skills plus a well-rounded individual that fits well with their team and company. And a person’s social media footprint gives employers (and others) the best insight into your passions, interests, communication styles, work habits, work/life balance and all sorts of other valuable information.
Simply put, it helps an employer get to know you and get comfortable with you before a single word has even been exchanged. So think about it, if you had the choice to consider a cold bland CV or an actual person with common interests, passions and work/life style, wouldn’t the choice be obvious?
When ExecuNet began researching in 2005 how publicly available online information influenced executive hiring, three-quarters of the search firm recruiter respondents revealed they were already Googling candidates to find information beyond the résumé. As a result, more than one-quarter of recruiters had eliminated a candidate because of what they found online.
ExecuNet continued to monitor this trend, developing a series of reports that raised awareness of online reputation management, and the 2010 data casts no doubt that Googling has been adopted as a best practice with 90% regularly conducting this activity. Forty-six percent uncovered digital deal-breakers, such as ethics violations, falsified employment history and convictions, which lead to eliminating candidates from consideration.
The younger generations digital natives who largely live online have to make efforts to separate themselves from their less-professional identities when they enter the workforce, but for successfully established executives, they’ll have to work to become visible and distinguish themselves. In the most recent research, 80% of executive recruiters said a candidate’s job prospects improve when positive information is found online.
With this research in mind, take some time to:
- Find what’s online about you on a regular basis
- Keep your profiles private, only allow your trusted friends to view them
- Work to correct/eradicate anything that doesn’t reflect your name well.
- Develop a plan to establish visibility, both on the Internet at-large and niche communities where your peers dwell.