In today’s world, you have to expect that before you ever get that call for a job interview the HR manager has already googled you, looked you up on Facebook and or have reviewed your Linkedin profile. According to the search engine journal in February 2012 80% of companies use social media for recruiting. But companies and employees also need Reputation Management.
The rise of social media has made it easy for us to post what we are doing online and while sharing a joke with friends may be good it could be depending on the content be grounds for dismissal. In 2010 Auckland postie Lyndon Hohaia was dismissed by the New Zealand Post after creating a comical blog on his Facebook page about a fictional postman.
He argued the firing was unjustified and the case was later settled out of court leaving the question about his original dismissal unresolved but his case like others in New Zealand and around the world show what you post on social media can come back to haunt you. Just ask the 13 crew members of Virgin Atlantic who were dismissed in 2008 after referring to referred to employees as “chavs” and who joked about faulty engines with the incident being covered by the Guardian soon after.
Although Hohaia’s case was about getting fired from his job, how many people just at the start of their careers will not be contacted for an interview because of what a potential employer has found online. In a study done by the Society of Human Resource Management, 36% of organisations who participated in the study found something in their screening that caused them to disqualify a candidate from a position.
The pace of innovation online has meant that the amount of information that potential employers, clients and stakeholders have access to is greater than ever before. With approximately 70% of kiwis having a smartphone according to the Pew Research Centre posting a picture or commenting on an article is just a tap away.
In a 2012 report on the use of Social Media in HR by KPMG for the USA, 84% of those looking for work have a Facebook profile with almost half of them using Facebook for some job seeking activity in the last year. At the beginning of 2016 according to We Are Social, there were 2.307 billion active users of social media but while that number has continued to rise so has our awareness of the risks.
Part of this has been seen in the rise of new social platforms like SnapChat which allows people to selectively share pictures, videos and snippets with select friends only once before they are deleted and there are plenty of apps and techniques that can save those moments which is just another reason to be careful of what you post and where even if those moments are here for one moment and gone the next.
Once something is online in many cases it stays there and that strength can also be a curse. For professionals like Lawyers, Doctors and Accountants your reputation management is everything and if stained by bad reviews or one news article or several, it can be difficult if not impossible to remove and the damage is done. A single bad review for a professional can often mean the difference between a client setting an appointment or looking for someone else and that is what can help you prevent.
Everyone leaves a digital footprint and as Facebook uses your real identity how you present yourself on these channels has an impact on your reputation. This has given rise to reputation management tools such as 5th Law which are meant to help people curate their digital persona. This tool which functions on the freemium model in its free version is useful at informing consumers about potentially negative associations with their name or brand but limited methods of mitigating those aspects.
The need for reputation management is growing whether you want to be on the first page or what that article about you off of the first page. At the Digital Squad, based in Auckland we use our expertise in SEO and proven white hat techniques to help you to get those articles off the first page.