January 18, 2008

Don’t Blow That Work-At-Home Job With Digital Dirt

If you’re looking for a telecommuting job or home-based freelance work, you might want to sort out any digital skeletons lurking in your closets before they scare off prospective suitors.

Execunet, a executive career and business networking organization, recently updated a study of recruiting practices first conducted in 2005. That study showed that “digital dirt,” as they put it, is used to shape hiring decisions long before the interview process begins.


Their new study shows that 83% of recruiters comb the web looking for background information on candidates, and 43% have eliminated candidates based on what they’ve found.

Twenty-two percent of candidates have never done an ego search and looked for what the web has to say about them. Which probably includes the young lady (and I use the term loosely) eager to show the world movies of herself half naked, drunk, and puking her guts out, to use the vernacular.

Buzzer. Next candidate please.

“For better or worse, the Internet provides recruiters and employers with a wealth of unfiltered information that’s used to help evaluate candidates,” says Dave Opton, CEO and Founder of ExecuNet. “From a candidates perspective, there’s no question that managing your reputation online is as important as it is offline.”

Whether you’re a home-based business owner, freelancer, work-at-home mom, telecommuter, or even just a plain old traditional worker, you need to be sure your online persona upholds your reputation (assuming it’s a good one). To improve the quality of your online image ExecuNet offers the following guidelines:

  • Be Alert. Enter your name into multiple search engines on a monthly basis to determine exactly what information is available to potential employers.
  • Be Proactive. Purchase a domain name to display your resume, press mentions, and professional accomplishments. It will help create a more visible and professional online image.
  • Be Prepared. If there is negative information connected to your name online, expect that it will be uncovered before the interview process begins. Develop key messages designed to answer questions that may arise, and depending on the nature of it address the issue before it’s found so you don’t look like you’re trying to hide something.

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