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How to Shine Online

How to Shine Online – Part 2

Part 2 of a 2-part series on social media’s increasing impact on background screening

Earlier we wrote about the increasing prevalence of including social media information in background screening hiring processes.  As promised, this second post focuses on what you as a potential job seeker needs to be aware of in your online social media activities.

In other words, we want to help you be more aware of how to shine online!

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your Online Reputation is Important

Now that the Federal Trade Commission has cleared background screening companies to proceed with offering services enabling employers to do more than a cursory review of a candidate’s activity on sites like LinkedIn, Google, and others, your online presence is under increased scrutiny.  Some information is still off-limits to employers as decision points in their hiring process.  Information still off-limits in those situations include “protected class” characteristics identified in federal anti-discriminatory laws:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Sex or sexual orientation
  • Family status
  • Disability status

With that said, what topics should you definitely shy away from as you engage with the online virtual world??

If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…

There’s a classic moment in Walt Disney’s animated film “Bambi” where Thumper gives some wise advise, encouraged by his mother.  ”If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!”  Actually, that’s not bad advise to consider in today’s social networks.

Employers have a due diligence to protect their employees and provide a safe working environment.  Here are specific things employers are looking to uncover about potential candidates and why including social media activity in background screening is becoming so appealing:

  • Racism – In today’s global environment with such a diverse population, there’s no room in the working environment for employers to tolerate prejudice.
  • Hate – Serious, intense dislike and loathing expressed towards individuals or a groups often indicate potential for violence towards others that is concerning for employers.
  • Weapons and violence
  • Boasting about taking advantage of someone or something
  • Drug abuse
  • Sexually explicit comments or photos
  • Negativity about past employers or employees – We all have bad days at work and have worked in difficult situations, consider how your comments may be perceived by others – especially if they may not understand the full context.

Social media is here to stay.  Remember first impressions aren’t easily erased, so be vigilant in monitoring your online presence.  Be careful what you post so it doesn’t come back to haunt you one day.