Looks like your future employer is watching you online, involuntarily enrolling you in a never-ending job interview.
In the same way that you would strategically calculate every detail concerning a face-to-face interview, such as what would you wear, say, do, and admit, so too, must you adopt this same mentality everyday as you engage in online activity.
In a post written for the Harvard Business Review entitled, Your Future Employer is Watching You Online. You Should Be,Too, writer Michael Fertik explores in depth how “those of us who exert the necessary effort to maximize our digital reputations will be rewarded: opportunities will find us. Those of us who don’t will miss out.”
Fertik begins by describing the process.
First, your information is collected online from social media profiles and activity, online resumes, credit card information, and other conduits through which you (or others working on your behalf) would leave a digital footprint.
From there your data is analyzed. As a result, a profile is created and a score is assigned. Scores aren’t exclusive to employability but most certainly affect it.
Next, potential employers use the data analysis to evaluate you. Everything including social media profiles, online shopping habits, gaming sites, classifieds, auction sites and even virtual world activities are considered in this evaluation process.
The real kicker, however, is best described by Fertik himself, saying:
…employers, who have become adept at manually researching and evaluating candidates through their digital footprints, are getting machine-based number-crunching tools that will make the entire screening process faster. Employment is joining other fields like higher education (heavily dependent on standardized test scores for admissions), where machine-based scores will determine or all-but-determine our fate.
What does all of this mean for you personally? Well, you may be participating in a job search and interview process everyday without even having applied for a role. That said, depending on the content of your online activity, this knowledge may encourage you or scare you half to death.
Be sure to manage your online reputation by taking the following advice, offered by Fertik, into consideration:
- Make sure your online persona matches your offline persona.
- Curate your search results.
- Use the Internet to establish your credibility on relevant topics to your career field.
- Don’t rely on ‘privacy settings’ to protect you.
- Take charge of your photos.
- Don’t assume that because you live a ‘righteous’ life offline, that you will appear ‘righteous’ online.