In my Web travels this week, I came across a few press releases, career-related columns and trend-related reports discussing online recruiting, the next generation of tech-savvy job seekers and employer/potential employee branding. Branding in this digital context refers to how someone portrays herself via Web sites, blogs, social networking sites, etc.
Many organizations and groups have already discovered MySpace as a recruitment tool, including the Marines. And just as companies must carefully consider how they represent themselves online, job seekers should remember one thing: public domain.
Consider this stat: “According to a 2005 survey by ExecuNet, an executive job search and networking organization, 75 percent of recruiters use search engines to uncover information about job seekers. Additionally, 26 percent have admitted to eliminating candidates due to information they discovered online.” Read more here. In other words, just as an insightful blog that showcases your education, skills and past projects may put you ahead in the hiring game, a networking site profile filled with profanity, racy photos and the like may result in a potential employer pressing the “delete” key. Is it fair that candidates, who may have stellar references and skills on the professional front, be judged based on off-hours MySpace profile musings and journal entries? Fair or not, it’s reality as everything/everyone is searchable.
Something else to consider… We know that employers can’t ask interviewees certain personal questions (age, marital status, etc). But much of this information can be obtained via social networking site profiles. And with the viral nature of new media and the Web, once it’s online, your blog post may be re-posted many times over. My prediction: More and more MySpace users (not just teens) will set their profiles to “private,” meaning only approved “friends” can access their complete profile.