You've been Googled

You’ve been Googled. So what did the recruiter of your dream job find?

DO YOU SHOUT IN CAPITALS, or troll on Twitter? Finding out that you’ve been Googled by a potential employer can be unnerving. Are you negative online, or will your potential employer find out that you’re someone who belongs to all the right groups and does good work in the community?

It’s amazing what can live on in Google. If you’ve ever been in the media, published a blog, or had a presence on social media, it can come back to haunt you forever. As well as Twitter, Instagram and all the usual social media content, you might have listed every book you’ve ever read or film you watched on Goodreads or Letterboxd.

Unfortunately our online history doesn’t die. A night out on the booze or the gangsta photos you took at Uni are likely to exist for a long time to come.

Whether you’re just starting out or well on your way to climbing to the top of your chosen field, you need to keep your online presence squeaky clean.

What employers really think

Think of it from a recruiter’s perspective. Your online presence can complete the picture painted by your resume and with your carefully rehearsed answers at interview.

Kate McKay, HR Advisor – Talent, at Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) says a candidates’ online presence is important. CCA looks for candidates with passion whose values align with the company’s.

If McKay wants more information than is in a candidate’s CV and cover letter, she will check out your online profile. “Finding another piece of the puzzle gives a better picture of the candidate,” she says.

“You can find out (a lot) from the pages candidates follow, and how they display their professionalism,” says McKay. In some cases she will also check out Facebook.

“You can find out (a lot) from the pages candidates follow, and how they display their professionalism,” says McKay. In some cases she will also check out Facebook.

On the positive side, candidates can do themselves a lot of good by listing relevant memberships in their profile and also by liking and checking out CCA’s Facebook pages. By doing so, candidates can acquaint themselves with the company’s activities and environmental and community involvement as well as product launches. This knowledge can be very useful in an interview.

Clean up your online presence

Don’t let past social media mistakes get you down. If you’re serious about getting ahead in your chosen career, it’s time to give your Google presence a good scrub. Here’s how:

  • Google yourself. This will give you an idea of what employers will see. Would you hire the person you find? Really?
  • Delete old deeds. Find old content that doesn’t reflect who you are now or the person you want to portray. Delete it.
  • Untag yourself. Search yourself on social media and remove the tags from less than desirable photos and content to avoid it coming back to bite you.
  • Go private. Are you posting too much in public? If so, look at your privacy settings. Even better, don’t ever post anything that could be career limiting.
  • Be positive. Avoid posting negative comments about anyone or anything. Employers want positive people who work well in groups.
  • Join professional groups and start posting. Reinvent yourself as a thought leader or someone who is going places. But be humble.

Finally, it’s a really good idea to ask “do I really want the world to see this?” every time you post online.