3 Steps to Protect Your Online Image

Since 92 percent of recruiters check out candidates on the Internet, a prudent IT professional should take basic steps to safeguard their online reputation by adjusting their privacy settings on social media sites and being careful about what they Tweet, blog or post.

But even if you diligently practice the basics, you still might have an image problem unless you follow these steps.

See What Others See

You may think your online image is pristine after searching for yourself online, but recruiters and IT managers may see different results when they search your name.

Turn off the personalized results tab when Googling yourself, which will remove your location and preferences and gives you a more objective reading. Be sure to look beyond the first few pages of search results. Internet sleuth-hounds usually look at the final pages to get the inside scoop on candidates.

 See What Others Are Saying

Cleaning-up social networking sites isn’t enough. You need to see what others are saying about you, especially if you’re a target for comments, e.g., a supervisor, trainer, or speaker, or if you frequently post opinions under your own name, or searchable screen name. Get a feel for your reputation by running your name or handle through a free or low-cost reputation management tool, which scores others’ comments as good, bad or neutral.

Take On Critics

While people have a right to disagree with your opinions, refute critics who make inaccurate statements about your qualifications or thoughtlessly demean your reputation. If you’re proactive, potential employers will see that you’re monitoring your image and have a chance to hear your side of the story.

Related Links

Image: Keyboard with a red key by Bigstock


4 Responses to “3 Steps to Protect Your Online Image”

September 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm, Craig Jenson said:

How can I determine if someone has slandered me and I have real damages? For example, as a result of unsupportable comments by a workmate, my on-line reputation is judged “bad” by many HR/Recruters. What is the measure of slander in the “on-line” universe?


September 16, 2012 at 8:57 am, Leslie Stevens-Huffman said:

Hi Craig,

Without the facts it’s hard to say if your workmate’s comments meet the definition of online slander or harassment. Plus, the only way to know for sure is to consult a lawyer. In the meantime, you may be able to assess the merits of your case or figure out a corrective strategy by searching the Internet for online slander by a co-worker. You’ll find articles on the subject, the results of recent cases and opinions from lawyers posted on discussion boards.

Good luck.


September 20, 2012 at 11:13 am, John said:

I suggested to a friend (who is an “open networker”) to start “Googling” his connections. Turns out one of them had been indicted recently for a very serious crime. Yet his online profiles & blogs remain unchanged. Many can’t afford to do background checks on all their online connections.

It can also be quite difficult for those w/ a common name or same name as a notorious person who is unemployed and looking for work. Debt collectors & investigators can be very persistent as well.

Many should really give a serious look at their online privacy. We also need better privacy laws and enforcement of existing laws.


January 13, 2014 at 11:20 am, Social Media Fails as Job Performance Indicator - Dice News said:

[…] employers and recruiters are increasingly relying on job seekers’ social media profiles to help them make hiring decisions, a recent study by Florida State University found no correlation […]


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