5 Steps to Manage
Your Job References in the Social Media Age
How To Use Social
Media To Your Advantage In The Job Market
7, 2012)- In recent years, the reference-checking
landscape has changed dramatically for prospective employers and job
seekers alike. The advent of social media sites like LinkedIn and
Facebook allow prospective employers to quickly research reference
data on a prospective candidate, says professional reference checking
This is a boon from
the hiring manager/recruiter perspective, as vast personal and
professional networks can be accessed - the membership of LinkedIn
alone exceeds 135 million members. Social media opens up the
candidate pool; estimates suggest that a significant majority of
hiring managers recruited through social networks in 2011- and that
this trend will continue.
In addition, many
hiring managers use social media such using as LinkedIn, Twitter or
Facebook (in addition to general Google searches) to check
a potential candidate's background. An employer can
type in the candidate's name, previous employers and dates of
employment and might well come up with the names of a wide variety of
current and former associates. What's more, prospective employers
can access the information on these sites even before a candidate is
interviewed in person.
What are the
ramifications for you, the job seeker? For one, a prospective
employer might be able to access former references who are not those
you would normally provide as references. Simply offering up the name
of your former Human Resources representative, or of your immediate
supervisor, might not be sufficient if an employer is able to utilize
social media tools to access the names of your second-level
supervisors or other key associates.
This being the case,
what steps should you take now to ensure that your social media data
isn't used against you?
five proactive steps to manage your references in the Internet Age:
1. Take the time
to research yourself online prior to beginning your interview
process. (One example: “Google” yourself.) The odds are very
high that your application, resume and credentials will be reviewed
by prospective employers for inaccuracies - better that you
identify them first, if they exist.
expanding your reference list to prospective employers beyond simply
an HR contact or supervisor. Associates like a supportive
second-level supervisor or a matrix manager(s) can be key advocates
in your behalf and might be more supportive than traditional
references like immediate supervisors.
3. Find out what
your references will say about you prior to beginning the interview
process. Use a third-party
reference verification firm to find out what
references at your most recent places of employment (in particular)
say about you. Increasing the scope of your reference
search (to second-level supervisors, etc.) may identify additional
favorable references in senior positions whose names you may wish to
invoke during the interview process.
negative references are identified during a third-party search,
consider taking remedial action intended to discourage such
references from ever offering similar negative input to your future
employers. Tools such as Cease
& Desist letters have proven extremely effective
in neutralizing future negative input from unfavorable references.
5. Know your
rights. Be aware that employers are legally prohibited from using
certain social media data they may discover about you during the
hiring process, (e.g. data pertaining to your race, religion, age,
sex, sexual preference, etc.). Employers open themselves up to
lawsuits if they base their hiring decisions on such discriminatory
ever-increasing prevalence of social media is a doubled edged sword;
it has opened up countless employment opportunities, but has also
given prospective employers added tools to investigate your
background. By recognizing this and taking proactive steps, you use
social media to your advantage - and gainful new employment.
# # #
About Allison &
& Taylor and its principals have been in the
business of checking references for corporations and individuals
since 1984. Allison
& Taylor is headquartered in Rochester, Mich. For
further details on services and procedures please visit
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