By Shawn McGowan
Facebook is the biggest social media site in the world, so it's no secret that employers are using the site to research potential candidates. According to one survey, only 10 percent of employers look at a job candidate's friends' comments, but another 11 percent plan to do so in the future. Personal branding matters.
If you're like me and reserve Facebook for family and friends, I suggest mastering your privacy settings and remain selective on whom you let in on your personal life.
Some may choose to keep their profiles open a little further especially when mixing business with personal, adding a new place to increase visibility, and/or adding a third dimension to their credentials and achievements.
This can be tricky when you have friends that tag you in photos and notes and make inappropriate remarks. And we've all made ill-advised posts in the dead of night, after a few cocktails, or a heated argument, or expressing strong beliefs in a cause, and/or political/religious views.
Reppler has been touted in recent news as the "social media morning after pill." It is a website where you can login via Facebook and view a dashboard of ratings and suggestions on the content on your Facebook profile and comments you've left on other's profiles and pages. It flags comments, posts, and other content that may be inappropriate or offensive to others. The site will even send email status reports on a regular basis if you choose.
The dashboard is broken into four modules:
1. My Information
This module is a brief summary of all the personal information you have listed on your profile. It's nice to see all this data in one place. This provides and opportunity to think about what you'd like to be public and private if you haven't already and adjust your privacy settings to reflect those choices.
2. My Inappropriate Content
In this module, Reppler will flag inappropriate content you or others post on your wall and comments or content you post on other walls or pages by six categories:
- Strong Language
- Derogatory Language
- Alcohol references
- Drug reference
- Adult content
- Additional language
You can view flagged content by most recent, all the way out to your entire history. You may also adjust the means by which you are notified about each of these topics, giving some immediate priority and others less mentions, i.e. "Do you want to go out for a beer after work?" may not warrant an emergency notification.
3. My Impression
This aspect of Reppler attempts to convey how people may see and interpret your interests, discussion topics and activity on Facebook. Below are some of the stats contained here and some questions you may want to consider:
- Trends on your personal activity by hour of day. Employers look to see how often candidates post during business hours.
Do I post too frequently during work hours?
- How many of your own posts are on your wall compared to others. Am I in control of the content I display on my wall or should I monitor it more closely?
- Recent activity. Am I active enough, too active?
- Likes and trends from topics on my wall. Are these topics appropriate? Are my interests in line with what I would like potential employers to know about me as a person?
4. My Privacy and Security Risks
The last module gives advice on scam content that may lead to your account getting hacked. I was glad to see this box was empty!
All in all, Reppler is a solid, insightful tool to manage your online reputation on Facebook. The emergence of applications like this one may seem like paranoid overkill but if your profile is public, I can assure you, it is not. It's an employer's market; don't let a bad first impression cost you a great opportunity.
About the Author:
As a Social Media Marketing Coordinator, Shawn McGowan's passion for brand transparency and over 10 years of sales/customer service experience make him aptly suited for the job. A native of East Millinocket, Maine, Shawn grew up at the foot of Mount Katahdin and graduated from the University of Maine Presque Isle with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). When not writing, editing or immersing himself in the world of social media, he can be found enjoying the outdoors, art, music, tech, humor, Portland's amazing food scene, and all things nerdy. You can reach Shawn at smcgowan (at) JobsInME.com and Twitter.com/shonymac.