How To Balance Your Personal and Professional Brands
If you thought the right college degree, a good resume, and a comprehensive curriculum vitae were all you needed to get a top employer to hire you, think again.
As recently as 10 years ago, you might have been well-prepared being armed with those credentials. No longer. Now companies complete due diligence by typing applicants’ names online, clicking search, and reading the results from several social media sites.
Two-Thirds of Employers Search Social Media
A first-quarter 2017 Harris Poll found that 70 percent of employers are checking Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc. before hiring. That’s up from 60 percent the year before, 50 percent in 2012, and 11 percent in 2006 (care to guess what website debuted about that time?).
It’s not hard to spot the trend here. Most sources put the number of recruiters doing online searches on candidates at about 80 percent. And why wouldn’t they? It’s the most user-friendly free screening tool there is.
Employers Are Not Just Looking For Bad Behavior
That same poll showed that 57 percent of employers said they were less likely to follow up with a prospective employee if they can’t find anything about them online. Almost half that many employers expected to find something, since so many job-seekers do have an online presence.
What Companies Are Looking Online For
A Jobvite poll ranked the top 3 things employers seem to be hoping to find:
Candidates who will fit in with that company’s culture
While a poor potential fit might not be damning, if 57 percent of the companies you apply to won’t even call you back if they can’t find anything to give them a clue, you might say it’s better to have something for them to find.
Information to verify your qualifications
Obviously, the more you pad with things that can’t be shown online, the more likely your credentials will be questioned. Don’t lie. Be straightforward with the limitations of what you’re claiming.
Evidence of creativity
Here’s where those social media posts about your personal life come in. It’s true that not all creative outlets translate into useable skills at all jobs, but multiple abilities might make someone looking to hire you think about how they do, and how that helps them.
Still Watch Out For The Bad Behaviors
That Jobvite poll discovered that well over half of the recruiters and hiring managers questioned did not like seeing references to illegal drugs, sex, profanity, or guns, and nearly 50 percent didn’t like seeing references to alcohol. Surprisingly, 61 percent shared the same negative response to bad spelling or grammar.
While photos of applicants leading toasts at their best friends’ weddings are not in the same category as photos of the same applicants drunk on a typical weekend, it is interesting that the pollsters felt they had to ask the questions; others may be shocked that the results were so high … or may be shocked that they were so low.
The bad spelling/grammar results might as well be listed as “Good spelling/grammar” under the heading of “What Companies Are Looking Online For.” It does support the idea that it’s a prerequisite for a solid employee. You may want to watch the autocorrect and limit the use of “r u,” not to mention using “they’re,” “there.” and “their” correctly.
But I’m Not The Only One With My Name
Here’s when a well-balanced online presence is extremely useful. When companies start searching, they use whatever name you’ve given them. Unless they find other identifying information about you online; hobbies, awards, employers, etc., anything they do find, even if it’s not you, will be associated with you. The more they find corroborating what you put in your resume/cv, the better for you.
After The Company Hires A Candidate
Don’t think that once you’ve filled out your new-hire packet that you’re home free. As easy as it is for companies to use internet searches to screen applicants, it’s just as easy to search a current employee’s activities.
In fact, CNBC reports that 18 percent of employers have fired employees for questionable posts online, whether recent postings or more dated, and 28 percent of employers have fired employees for online activity during work hours, supposedly reducing productivity.
If you don’t think your boss will like what you post, when you post, where you post, don’t post it. If you think your boss will interpret a post as adding to well-rounded employee, post it.