Recruiters are some of the most externally facing people at the company. With that, their online reputation can make or break their ability to do their job well and can come with some major personal risks as well. Online reputation management for recruiters is a topic often overlooked and undervalued. With the rise of social media use in business, personal use such as sharing photos, special moments, statuses, and something not instantly recognizable, but our routines, opens the door to a host of risks. Ever had a candidate react poorly when declined for a role? Can you imagine if that candidate then took your public social information to create fake articles and information about you online? Well, it happens. Recruiters face the dilemma of needing to personalize outreach, but at the same time protect their online privacy.
There are over 4.54 billion pages across the Internet and there is a sense of pride in finding even the most niche of candidate which has recruiters taking a look at unconventional sites all over the web. To top it off, the 2016 Global Recruiting Trends Survey found that 37% of recruiters felt that their primary source for finding talent was social and professional media outlets. This statistic drives home the fact that the lines have not only been blurred, but are being erased completely when it comes to reaching out a candidate.
Why talk about this now
Over the past several months I’ve uncovered a trove of fake online articles using real social media profile information and pictures that have been popping up and attempting to destroy the online reputation of recruiters at companies like VMware, Oracle, HP, Google, Paypal and other Fortune 500 companies. From what I’ve heard this has been an ongoing issue for years. While I can’t go into a lot of detail -- this is just one of several instances where a solid online reputation management program for recruiters could help catch behavior like this and stop it dead in their tracks.
Many of the recruiters and executives hurt by this kind of online reputation attack did not have a large personal brand online which makes them much more susceptible to such an attack. When you have a large online presence on social media, blogging, etc it gets harder for false articles like this to come up in Google results when your name is searched as the more fresh, relevant content there is about you out there, the less relevant or wrong info then gets buried.
It all starts with a simple Google search and some alerts.
Picture your online reputation as levels similar to your credit score. When you’re at the top, it’s easy to plummet overnight and when you’re at the bottom it takes several years of hard work and dedication to bring it back up to a more suitable level. There’s only so much you can do -- but here are some basics on how to get started and why this should be important to you.
Before you perform the search sign out of Google completely or open a browser in incognito mode. Google is going to be your first impression and your home base when it comes to understanding your personal brand and how to manage your reputation.
Setting up Google Alerts
It's important that you are constantly managing your brand and every bit of information that comes up regarding it. Time is critical when dealing with dings to your reputation. The solution is to setup simple Google Alerts around your name, any brand associated with you, and anything else that may affect you. Only 6% of all adults have set up some type of alert for their brand or person -- chances are most of you reading this don't. Before you move on with this blog, go set some up. It takes less than five minutes and saves you a lifetime of headaches.
It's time to Google yourself.
Most people assume that if they own that first spot their golden, but the truth is that first search only equates to 33% of search results. If what you saw after googling yourself is a page full of results that back up your qualifications and display a clear understanding of the industry that you're in --- you're doing it right.
If you see negative results on this first page then you have some work to do. Whether you're finding posts that are littered with rants from someone who used to work with you and they're not talking about a bad experience or you're finding nothing because you have a 'John Doe' type name and you're competing for the lucrative web space it's important to know how to take back your name and share your story.
Being Proactive: How to Stand Out and Build a Solid Reputation Online
Build your brand around a specific story or expertise.
A common I see a lot is everyone wants to be good at everything in every industry to every person. Become an expert at whatever it is that you have some type of knowledge and expertise in -- and don't wonder. Trends will come and some will stay, but most won't. If you become the expert on Facebook Job Fairs, well, they didn't exactly take off did they?
Be consistent in everything.
It's that simple. If you start a blog, blog. If you pick an expertise or story, stick with it. Consistency will help brand you as a reliable source and go-to for whatever it is you choose.
Pick your platform and own it.
If you're bouncing from platform to platform you won't be able to build any type of community and you're not going to rank very high because you have a lot of content all over. The best way to keep your personal brand under your narrative and branding specifically for you is to create a simple website with a blog while using your name as the url. For example, 'Will Staney' would be WillStaney.com.
Think of LinkedIn as a Booster Shot
There are several sites out there that could be contenders for that optimal number one search result, but the best out there, even above your own branded website (in a majority of cases) will be LinkedIn. It's a professionally focused site that ranks better already and it is much easier to hit #1 with LinkedIn than it will be a personally branded URL. Take advantage of all the features including the vanity url, making your profile as public as possible, optimizing your profile with endorsements, recommendations, content, certifications and more.
So what's next?
Most of you won't do anything. Half of you have hopefully setup simple Google Alerts to monitor brand mentions. And for those who are reading this and starting to realize that this issue doesn't go away, strikes at random, and can seriously harm your reputation, there's hope.
For the recruiter:
If you're a recruiter and you're ready to take the plunge and start beefing up those positive search results there is a DIY tool over at BrandYourself.com that gives you a basic jumping point. It's a solid site that will give you insight into your brand that you probably didn't even know about.
For those managing teams of recruiters:
While BrandYourself.com is a valuable resource it won't help protect your company as much if recruiters don't participate. Proactive Talent offers customized training to help your entire team not only protect themselves but promote their brand while promoting your company's brand. These pieces of training are highly interactive and handhold recruiters through setting up a solid foundation and some advanced strategies that protect everyone.
If you're interested in having a conversation to learn more, let us know.