Managing your online reputation is a good idea

Feb 17, 2010 10:31am


By Michael Kaiser, NCSA Executive Director

A recent study, Online Reputation in a Connected World by Cross-Tab Marketing Research on behalf of Microsoft (disclaimer Microsoft is an NCSA sponsoring company) finds that more and more companies are conducting online research into a candidate’s reputation.  Of the U.S. recruiters (study also surveyed recruiters in other countries) and HR professionals surveyed, 70% say they have rejected candidates based on information they found online.

The news isn’t all bad since the survey found that positive online reputations had an impact as well.  Among U.S. recruiters and HR professionals surveyed, 85% say that positive online reputation influences their hiring decisions at least to some extent, and nearly half say that a strong online reputation influences their decisions to a great extent.

Consumers were also surveyed. Not surprisingly, around half of those surveyed report being somewhat to very concerned about how their online reputation affects their personal or professional life. This study also shows that consumers are taking steps to protect their online reputations from scrutiny, with about eight in 10 respondents reporting engaging in efforts to separate their personal and professional reputations including creating multiple profiles, keeping profiles anonymous, restricting access to personal sites, and refraining from publicly sharing which sites they use.  Survey respondents actively managing their online reputations reported that the most common ways they managed their online reputations were using search engines to find information posted about them, setting privacy controls on social networks, blogs, and Web sites to limit access to content, and not posting specific content online.

Another area that people might find of interest is that recruiters scour the online world. Quite naturally they use search engines, social networking sites, and personal blogs and news sharing sites. Recruiters also reported looking at online gaming sites, virtual worlds, and auction and classified advertising sites as well.

In the digital age, there is no distinction between what you do online and offline with the exception that what you do online is available to the whole world.  At NCSA we focus a significant part of our energy on ensuring young people receive the cyber security, safety and ethics education they need to thrive in a digital world.  Protecting your reputation, one of the most valuable assets each of us has, is critical.

SSO (stay safe online),

Michael