I did not hire you because of your online reputation

I’ve written before about online reputation and how people say stupid things on Twitter and Facebook. Umm… Is “stupid” too strong a word? Hmm… Maybe it would be better to say that people say and do ill-advisable things online? Yes, that is what I meant to say. Sure it is! I want to be sure that you understood what I truly meant because I would not want to offend anyone due to a misunderstanding.

Okay, what I just said was all sarcasm, but I wanted to make a point. What if some time in the future I am trying to get a gig as a Therapist. Someone could research my background and see my comment above and say, “I can’t hire Jim to be a therapist! Based on his “stupid” comment, I think he is insensitive and impatient and like that Therapist on the Geico commercial.”

If you think what I said was farfetched, then you are blissfully unaware of how companies approve candidates in 2010. Microsoft commissioned research on privacy and among their findings was something quite eye-opening; at least, surprising for some.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • The recruiters and HR professionals surveyed are not only checking online sources to learn about potential candidates, but they also report that their companies have made online screening a formal requirement of the hiring process.
  • Of U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 70% say they have rejected candidates based on information they found online. Though not as frequently, respondents from the U.K. and Germany report the same trend.
  • Recruiters and HR professionals surveyed report being very or somewhat concerned about the authenticity of the content they find.
  • In all countries, recruiters and HR professionals say they believe the use of online reputational information will significantly increase over the next five years.
  • Positive online reputations matter. Among U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 85% say that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent. Nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent.

Now that you know this, what next? How do you protect your online reputation? May I offer a few suggestions?

  1. Use Google Alerts to monitor what people say about you on Google. Be sure to use not only your name, but derivatives of your name as well. For example, do people know you by William Anthony Rogers or “Buck” Rogers? If both, set alerts around both names.
  2. Use a service like TweetBeep or SocialOomph to get email alerts when people mention you on Twitter.
  3. Create and maintain a dual identity. When you discuss work-related items or industry news, use your real name. However, when you are dancing naked in the Cayman Islands, use a pseudonym like – 1SexyChick. Why? Recruiters researching your name after an interview will be looking for your real name and not your nickname and in this way, you should be safe. Make sense?

Good luck!

Jim

I was fired because of Facebook

Last week I mentioned how people say weird (or is that idiotic?) things on Twitter that will most-likely get them fired or at the very least, provide some pretty awkward moments in the office. Well, this behavior is not exclusive to Twitter. Its actually quite rampant on Facebook as well.

Check out these examples:

  • Connecticut superintendent out of job over Facebook comments – A Connecticut school superintendent is out of a six-figure job after getting into some Facebook trouble. The Windsor Locks Board of Education is forcing David Telesca to resign after comments he made on his Facebook page.
  • Hospital Will Fire Workers in Facebook Scandal – Rumors swirled around Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside two weeks ago that some employees had been fired for sharing patient information on Facebook. The allegations, that dozens of employees may have violated patient confidentiality by posting information on the social networking site caught the attention of the state.
  • Employees should exercise discretion on social networks – Social networking can be fun—but it could also get you fired. In fact, that’s what happened to a Swiss insurance worker who lost her job for surfing Facebook after having reported sick. The woman, who had asked for leave saying she had to be away from her computer monitor and resting, was then seen active on Facebook for which her employer—Nationale Suisse—lost trust in her and ended her work contract. The company also banned use of social networking sites during office hours.
  • Photo of Bikini Clad Women Draped on a Police Cruiser Gets South Carolina Cop Fired – A South Carolina police officer has been relieved of his duties after a photo surfaced on Facebook of scantily-clad women posing on the hood of his town police cruiser.
  • Teacher Fired Over Facebook – Harry Smith spoke with teacher June Talvitie-Siple who was forced to resign after parents saw postings on her Facebook page.
  • Facebook entry that earned ‘Lindsay’ her P45 – The worker, known only as “Lindsay”, updated her Facebook status with “OMG [oh my God] I HATE MY JOB!!” She went on: “My boss is a total pervy w****r, always making me do s**t stuff just to p**s me off!! W****r!” Her boss “Brian” responded a few hours later just before 11pm, opening with: “Hi Lindsay, I guess you forgot about adding me on here?”

I suppose it would be too obvious to say do not incriminate yourself on Facebook, but (based on the examples above) no one would hear me. Still, I feel compelled to push a few common sense tips. Puh-leezz people, consider these tips/articles.

  1. Adjust your privacy settings –> 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know
  2. Do NOT discuss confidential information online. Even if you have your privacy settings set for a select few, what if someone on your list gets angry with you? Also, Facebook has adjusted its privacy rules over the years and who knows, maybe they will again. Best to be careful, especially if the data in question is related to your job.
  3. Don’t use Facebook during work hours, especially if you know the management frowns upon it. And if you think you can be (somehow) slick with your use of Facebook, please keep in mind that everything is time stamped and dated. If I am connected to you and can see your wall, I can see that you were on Facebook at 8:02 am which is about 20 minutes after you called in sick.
  4. Remove comments that other people that might get you in trouble later. For example, “Dude you were so drunk last night! hahahaha…” (Would it be a good thing if your manager or office co-workers saw that?)
  5. Check out the photos where you have been tagged and if its necessary, remove the tag and (in your privacy settings) prevent people from tagging you on any future photos.

Okay, that’s it for now. Hmm… it seems like I am on a reputation kick. Maybe I will post more on this. What do you think?

-Jim

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want

(Sorry about the Spice Girls reference. I couldn’t resist.)

Kudos to Indeed for putting together some very interesting research. They looked at all of the jobs in their database and made a list of the most common attributes that employers are looking for.

Here are the top 5 on their list:

1. Leadership
2. Interpersonal
3. Problem solving
4. Motivated
5. Efficient

( Click here to see the rest of the list. )

When I saw this data I was instantly impressed and began wondering a few things. If these are the attributes that employers “really” want more than anything else, do certain industries value these traits more than others? Hmm… Perhaps I should research this a bit further?



When I searched on jobs with the term “Leadership” as part of their description, the top job titles were:

* Assistant Managers
* Restaurant General Managers
* Store Manager
* Avon Independent Sales Rep

When I searched on jobs with the term “Interpersonal” as part of their description, the top job titles were:

* Retail Sales
* Store Manager
* Customer Support

When I searched on jobs with the term “Problem Solving” as part of their description, the top job titles were:

* Retail Sales
* Satellite TV Installer
* Management Trainee

When I searched on jobs with the term “Motivated” as part of their description, the top job titles were:

* Retail Sales
* Sales Representative

When I searched on jobs with the term “Efficient” as part of their description, the top job titles were:

* Cashier
* Night stock
* Retail Associate
* Assistant Manager
* Director of Surgical Services

What jumped out at me was when I looked at each attribute (above and the other 10 on the Indeed site), Sales positions were always in the the top 5 of jobs with one exception – Teamwork. I thought that was kind of weird, then I changed my mind. Sales is after all, a competitive experience in many offices.

All this to say, when you are preparing your next cover letter, or prepping for an interview, be sure to hit on all of the characteristics preferred by employers; especially if you are in Sales. (Smile)

-Jim

How to find a part-time job

I have a question for everyone.

“How can a semiconductor chip company remain profitable if the chip price plummets every few months?”

Anyone? Going once. Going twice. (Smile)

  • If you do not know the answer, then you are not an expert in the field of semiconductor chips.
  • If you do not know the answer, then you probably do not work in that industry at all. At least, not on the technical side of things.
  • If you do work in that industry but just don’t have an answer to my question, then I might not want to talk to you because you were not able to answer my question.
  • If you do work in the semiconductor chip industry and know the answer to my question, then you probably said something like this.

Now, imagine that you are a Chemist and someone asked a difficult question that you correctly answered. Wouldn’t that mean that you have more than a cursory knowledge on the topic? Wouldn’t that mean you just (more than likely) impressed someone who could quite possibly hire you? If not full-time, then perhaps part-time. What’s to stop you from saying (after you have correctly answered the question of course), “If I can be of further service to you feel free to e-mail me.” Or perhaps, “This may solve your problem in the interim, but I know how to resolve it long-term and its too much to go into here. Feel free to call me and I will give you more information.”

Of course, when they reach out to you, ask them about their issues and offer your services. You have already proven your worth (and given them a free sample of what you can do) by answering their question. (Wink)

There are a lot of Question and Answer sites online (a WHOLE lot of them), but here is a short list of the more popular ones.

* Yahoo Answers
* Answerbag
* WikiAnswers
* Anybody Out There
* Askville
* Mahalo Answers
* Linkedin Answers
* Askme HelpDesk
* Rediff Q & A
* Fluther

Good luck!

Jim

Has Google Banned Your Resume?

Do you read Hacker articles? Hm… maybe that’s just me. Anyway, I discovered a very interesting bit of info that cited the “Google Blacklist” which are words that Google does not like. As you can imagine, some of the words are pretty sexual in nature. (Um… No need to mention what those word are, correct?) However, some of the words seemed pretty innocent like “amateur” (with a capital T) and “are” if its after the word blacks or jews or scientologists or behind a number of group names.

As I scanned through the list I thought, “Wow. Some people have too much time on their hands and other body parts.”

And then I wondered would any of these words be on a resume and if so, would that mean that Google would block your resume from being seen in its search results? Hmm… I wondered so I did a bit of experimenting.

  • intitle:resume inurl:resume education summa cum laude -your -apply -submit returned 15,300 results
  • intitle:resume inurl:resume education domination -your -apply -submit 285 results
  • intitle:resume inurl:resume education ecstacy -your -apply -submit 145 results

So it would seem that your resume may not be banned by Google for certain words, which is good to know. I suppose it takes more than one word to trigger a Google ban. Since all of the other words on the resume and (presumably) the website its on do not have sexually explicit language, your work history appears to be safe. Still, with all that being said, I would be very careful about the verbiage in your resume. Why? Although Google is able to figure out that your resume is not a porn site, how will the various applicant tracking systems handle your work history? Will they think its something naughty and banish it from the company’s blackhole of a resume database? Its possible, (like anything is possible I suppose) but I do not know for sure.

Hmm… that would be an interesting study.

Jim