In the digital age we live in, it is prudent to do a search of your digital life. More often than you may think, potential employers will make use of your digital content to see what kind of employee you could make for their company. Two simple ways to clean up your digital presence online are as easy as doing an internet search and performing some careful editing.
By conducting an internet search of yourself—putting your name in the search bar in quotation marks—you can discover if there are any unflattering references about you. Doing a simple personal internet search (quite possibly) may not turn up any results if you have had no reason to be written about. More than likely, however, your search may return other people that share your name. It may be prudent to know whether any of these others turn up unfavorable information as well. Even if there is no way to make any changes to the information, at least you may have the option to be able to prove the information incorrect to a potential employer. Furthermore, you can also set up a ‘google alert’ (please follow the link for more information) about yourself that will notify you of any new instances of your name showing up on the internet.
Social Media Cleanup
In addition, you should make sure to tidy up any social media accounts you subscribe to – making sure to edit anything that may be deemed offensive to a potential employer. This especially includes anything from unflattering photographs you may have taken on an ill-fated Spring Break trip or a joke made in poor taste. In addition, things others post on your social media account(s), if in poor taste, can also reflect poorly upon you. Removing such content can also help to improve your online presence.
Does Any of this Really Make a Difference?
In fact, there has been a rise (as the popularity of social media has risen) in the instance of employers paying attention to social media accounts. In 2011, Microsoft conducted a research study that discovered that although only 15% of jobseekers believed that potential employers made use of social media account searches, the number of companies that actually searched social media is closer to 75%. This figure only takes into account those companies that make use of third-party screening companies—the number could possibly be higher for employers personally conducting internet reviews.
How Companies Receive Their Information
The easiest way that employers can get access to your social media information is by hiring a third-party screening company (for example, Social Intelligence) that will monitor and/or report on potential employee’ activity on various social media sites. While this seems like an invasion of privacy (or even illegal), employees have no rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act if employers monitor internet activity themselves. However, according to an investigation conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Social Intelligence (and other third-party screening companies like it) are bound. Employees (and other consumers) have the same legal rights they would during the course of a traditional background check performed by a third-party screener.
Aside from doing a personal cleanup of your own social media accounts, deleting things they feel may be unflattering, there are other means of protection on social media sites. First, each site typically includes ways to block access to accounts from the whole of the internet—i.e. blocking a Facebook profile from being viewed by anyone but people whom you specifically allow. However, not everyone takes advantage of this option. A second means of protection is by using a reputation management service like SEO Advantage.
For more information on background checks, please visit Innovative Architects.