Simple online searches and social network profile browsing has hindered people’s reputations and even compromised employment opportunities in some cases. Whether you like it or not, articles, pictures, sound bites, videos and blog posts with (or relating to) your name are likely to make an appearance in the search engine rankings.
You may be asking yourself, “so what if an old picture of me surfaces in a Google search?” Well, a recent negative tweet and a couple vacation photos later, you may find that your online reputation appears less than stellar.
Employers have trusted background screening companies like First Contact HR for years, but some are taking a more serious approach to protecting themselves and their clients. Now, more than ever, employers not only want the top talent to fill their open positions, but they want those people to be squeaky clean in personal demeanor and in their online presence. While criminal record, motor vehicle history, and drug testing are all standard practices in background screening, some employers will manually search the social media landscape to determine your reputation online.
A simple Google or Yahoo! search can tell you if you are in the clear, but there’s no telling what will eventually surface when anyone can post something on internet sites like Facebook and Twitter without your knowledge. There are personal steps that you can take to prevent negative connotations associated with your “Googled” name such as kindly asking friends to remove embarrassing photos of you and even signing up on social media sites to prevent others from using your name.
If you think you might already be treading in the murky online waters with your reputation, there are more serious measures you can take to try and eliminate compromising online material. Internet profile aggregation companies such as Reputation.com, help job seekers minimize the amount of false or misrepresented information about themselves online. Other companies offering services to help you understand/clean up you online reputation are ClaimID, Profilactic, Spokeo and Ziki.
Check out the video below from abc.com detailing the importance of maintaining your online reputation.