In December 2009 Microsoft commissioned market research firm Cross-tab to conduct a survey on the growing impact and related social trends of Online Identity Management. Cross-tabs surveyed several hundred recruiters and Human Resource (HR) professionals as well as several hundred consumers in Europe as well as the United States.
The results of this survey further support the increasing role of online identity in hiring decisions.
Here are some sample takeaways from the study:
- Companies are making online screening a formal requirement in the hiring process.
- 85% of recruiters and HR professionals say positive online reputation influences their hiring decision.
- Approximately 70% of recruiters and HR professionals say they rejected candidates based on what they found online.
- Recruiters and HR professionals in the United States are almost twice as likely to perform an online screening then their European counterparts.
To further emphasize the strength of online screening in the United States, 98% of the recruiters and HR professionals surveyed said they used at least one of the following sites to gain further applicant information during the hiring process.
|According to the survey, here are the percent of recruiters and HR professionals who use these types of sites when researching applicants.|
|Social networking sites||63%|
|Photo and video sharing sites||59%|
|Professional and business networking sites||57%|
|Personal Web sites||48%|
|News sharing sites (e.g. Twitter)||41%|
|Online forums and communities||34%|
|Virtual world sites||32%|
|Web sites that aggregate personal information||32%|
|Online gaming sites||27%|
|Professional background checking services||27%|
|Classifieds and auction sites||25%|
|None of these||2%|
The study goes on to say the most common methods consumers are using to better manage personal and professional identities online are:
- Update and create multiple profiles on-line with an emphasis on separating personal from professional profiles.
- Keep profiles anonymous by correctly employing privacy settings.
- Use restrictive access tools similar to Career Brander’s Site in 60 website content padlocks.
Despite the growing trend and role of online identity management, an amazing 1/3 of all consumers have taken no measures whatsoever to enhance, protect or manage their online persona.
Career Brander feels, this “head in the sand” mentality is a flawed approach for anyone in career transition. We strongly recommend any individual in career transition look to the chart above and consider using it as a roadmap for their online identity campaign management. Minimally, individuals should look at the top 5 research sites from the chart above and take the time to enable, control and optimize the personal data on these destinations. To repeat in order they are:
1) Search Engines (Consider establishing profiles with them as well as creating a Vizibility button for Google)
2) Social Networking Sites (Facebook and MySpace are probably the two critical sites)
3) Photo & Video Sharing (This is probably more about controlling content than proactively adding content.)
4) Professional/Business Networking Sites (LinkedIn is key here and given its networking power probably the most important site to job seekers.)
5) Personal Websites (Site in 60 allows for incredibly easy creation of a personal website and advanced crawls by all the search engines.)
In 2010, reputation management is central to personal branding. An online identity audit and a proactive strategy are critical elements of effective career marketing. Embrace the Internet as a job search tool and you will have a hiring advantage. Ignore it, and you are positioning yourself for potential failure. The job search process is getting more complex and individuals need to be extremely thorough and thoughtful in every aspect if they hope to find work faster.