In a recent Forbes piece, John Hall dissects the results of recent studies highlighting the importance of online reputation management for businesses but especially individuals. Almost all of us have googled our own name at some point, and consumers and employers have that same inclination. In the past, you often had to get to know someone before you had an idea about what they were like. Today, many people will get their first impression of you from Google.
According to Hunt, 75% of employers google potential candidates, and 70% of those have passed on a candidate based on something they found online. In addition, 85% of those surveyed said that they have been prompted to follow through on hiring a candidate based on positive information gleaned online. What’s more, 90% of executive recruiters use Google to check up on candidates.
Checking someone out online is becoming standard practice. In 2008, just 22% of employers checked the social media accounts of potential hires, while 60% of employers surveyed today engage in this practice. This means that people are being hired or not in part based on what they post online.
When it comes to business, 42% of Americans do an online search before making a final decision to hire a service provider, with 45% saying that they have been dissuaded from doing businesses with someone based on something they saw online.
In the face of all of this evidence, what is remarkable is that so few people care about their digital fingerprint. Things change quickly online due to the large volume of media that are shared and posted, so managing your reputation means checking your Google search results often. It is also puzzling that many high-profile individuals give little thought to controlling their first page of results on Google, when this is such a fundamental part of the first impression most people will have you.
In a nutshell, John Hall argues that online reputation management is no longer a passive game. People who want to protect their reputation will need to long, hard look at their reputation strategy and do more.