Whether you are presently working or searching for that job to further your career and pay your bills, do you ever stop to think about your online reputation?
For some workers and job applicants, the unfortunate answer is “no”. As a result, they put their current or potential job in jeopardy.
According to a recent CareerBuilder study (2,000 hiring managers and human-resources pros were interviewed), two in five businesses currently turn to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to screen potential hires.
Among the things employers look at are how an applicant’s online activities may or may not fit in with the company’s culture, along with displaying any negative comments towards current or former employers and/or co-workers.
So, how do your online activities potentially impact your ability to both keep your present job and/or find a new one should you be looking?
Among the factors to consider are the following:
While there may have been a time where office water cooler talk could be a little risky, times have changed. As most workers know, even the slightest off-the-cuff remark today can be taken the wrong way, leading to possible discipline by an employer.
Whether you currently work or are looking for a position, your online reputation can come back to haunt you if not handled properly. Keep in mind that unless you lock your social networking profiles, anyone can see what you have to say or what images you post.
As noted in the CareerBuilder survey, many employers promote a positive office culture, wanting to make sure that they have the correct pieces to the company puzzle in place. If comments or photos you post online are viewed as not representative of the culture a company is trying to promote, you could put your current position or one you are seeking in jeopardy.
The same holds true with current co-workers you may have. For example, say you and one of your co-workers get into a spat over a work or personal issue. In turn, you take to your Facebook account to let the world know why you think this person is so miserable to work with. Once the other individual and/or the employer catches wind of the matter, you could not only hurt office morale, but could disrupt the department’s ability to properly do its job.
The old rule to apply is would you want your mother to see what you shared or tweeted online? If the answer is no, then there is a good chance it won’t fly with an employer.
The past is the past
Many workers have had a bad experience or two with prior employers or coworkers over the years. That being said, those experiences should be left just there, in the past. If you share or tweet that your former boss was a bad person, treated you poorly, and you couldn’t wait to get out of their company, how do you think that looks in the eyes of a company you are trying to get work with?
The employer may look at you as too risky to hire, meaning you missed out on a new job just because of something you wrote online. Leave past experiences, especially those that were bad, where they belong.
Potential legal issues
While they may be in the minority, cases where individuals have successfully brought defamation suits against someone for harming them online do occur. A simple tweet, share or photo post could land you in legal hot water if it is determined to be slanderous.
Not only do you stand the potential of being financially hurt, but your online reputation takes a hit too. If an employer gets wind of the fact that you were taken to court over such a matter, odds are they will pass on you for a potential job, fearing that you could land them in legal trouble if you do likewise while under their employment.
If you are currently employed in running your own business, any online missteps could lead you to lose current and potential customers. Most people will not want to deal with someone who is viewed as negligent when it comes to their social networking activities.
A comment or photo that you feel is harmless could be taken as offensive by a number of people, therefore leading you to lose out on business. Again, your online reputation and your wallet take a hit.
Lastly, keep in mind that there are a number of companies that gather and release private information on individuals. It does not hurt people to Google their names periodically and see what they find out about themselves online.
If there is information on there that can be potentially damaging to a current or future position with a company, look to have that data removed or at least lowered on the search engines. Just assuming your online data is safe and won’t come back to hurt you is being naive in today’s information-driven world.
At the end of the day, monitor your online reputation, taking note that there are very likely other people doing the same.
How do you monitor your online reputation?
Photo by FreeDigitalPhoto.net.