Interviews aren’t the only tool employers have at the their disposal to learn more about your personality.
With the help of the Internet and the power of Google, it’s becoming easier for employers to learn a lot more about you. When job hunting you are willingly putting yourself out there and the Internet is just another means of research for employers. So, if there is a crazy picture of you on the web, it’s quite possible a potential employer will find it.
“I’ve always thought of my professional image in terms of my appearance and my reputation online,” says Ivan Ramirez, a 27-year-old graphic designer and current job seeker living in Toronto. “I do think of the possibility of being searched online or found through any other type of social website so I want to make a good impression.”
Ramirez has even gone as far as to ask friends to remove inappropriate pictures of him from their websites.
Sara Schut, a recruiter for Quantum Technology Recruiting Inc., says a person’s online persona is breaking the barriers between personal and professional life.
“It is imperative that you consider all of the ways the Internet makes you available to the general public,” says Schut. “Many companies’ main focus now is not only finding people that have the skill set that they are looking for, but that also bring a level of maturity to the role that ensures longevity in the company growth plan. Search engines and social networking sites have rapidly become an easy way to conduct a quasi background check on potential employees looking for jobs.”
Schut says since the sites are targeted at creating and maintaining friendships, employers are learning vivid details about how the candidates spend their free time.
So what can we do to maintain a professional image online?
“I take the approach that any photos I post are work, family or friend appropriate. Understanding that work time and social time have different boundaries, I like to keep it simple and not have to worry that my pictures might offend a work colleague, or worse, my mother. That way, I’m always comfortable my pictures are safe,” says Randy Micucci, product manager for Windows Live Messenger and Spaces.
He says it’s important to understand the Internet is forever.
“Information you post publicly can be cached and revisited later.
“When posting, think how this information might be reviewed months later by a recruiter prior to a job interview.”