This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

February 20, 2008

Digital Dirt Hurts Candidates

According to the executive recruiter, Execunet, a large majority of recruiters used search engines in 2007 to "uncover information about candidates". In fact, the number is a whopping 83.2 percent---an increase of 11.4 percent over the percentage of recruiters using the Internet in 2005. Recruiters are using online information to augment resumes.

Moreover, here is the real news: 43 percent said they eliminated candidates based on this "digital dirt"---before even making the first phone calls. That percentage has increased by a full 17 percent over the 2005 number (26 percent).

Execunet believes that "Proactive Online Reputation Management is as critical to executive success as a polished résumé, a strong network, and a full set of leadership skills". They want to ensure that digital dirt does not derail job searches for executives by giving them a blueprint for taking control of their online reputations.

In their latest report, "Dealing with your Digital Dirt v2.5", they offer a list of specific actions people can take to create an online presence that supports their career goals. Execunet offers three key suggestions for online reputation management:

  1. Know what's already out there. More than three-quarters of executives report that they have done Internet searches on their own names, which means that nearly 25 percent still have no idea what digital dirt may be lurking.

  2. Create a positive online presence. A website to showcase professional accomplishments; a blog that demonstrates consistent thought leadership; and published articles are all ways executives may positively position themselves.

  3. Continually monitor their names. By establishing an automated "self-search" for their names with Google, Yahoo!, and Windows Live Alerts, executives may effortlessly discover what the press and others have said about them.

As use of the Internet increases, executives and others will have to be more vigilant to ensure that any digital dirt that is out there is either neutralized or eliminated. Then there is the problem of our younger workers who sometimes place compromising videos or other damaging information on MySpace, FaceBook, or YouTube without consideration of the consequences. . . Digital dirt is an issue for all generations.

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