PSA: Link-in!


Through my poster, I want young adults/college students/high school students to understand that having a reputable image online is crucial for their professional career. I also want to promote that young adults should begin adopting professionalism in their life. My audience is primarily college students and high school students, but all young adults could apply. After researching social media reputation, I have learned that many young adults put out unfavorable content on the internet, and that makes it harder for them to get jobs. So, in my poster I specifically targeted college students and high school students because many are out there right now looking for jobs, but many are not utilizing a crucial tool, LinkedIn. Specifically I suggest that my audience start making a reputable online image by creating or bettering their LinkedIn profiles.

The first point I want to imply is that LinkedIn is crucial in the employment market and that by creating a LinkedIn profile, college students and high school students can better their chances of getting hired. In the poster, I present a checklist that a job candidate should have. The confident young man in the poster shows that he has accomplished in having a professional social media account—LinkedIn, by having the LinkedIn logo next to the checked off “box”. The point of this imagery is to show that young adults should have a LinkedIn profile on their list of requirements. It also implies that having social media “in check” would increase the chances for employment. The underlining in red and the largeness of the Linkedin logo also suggests that Linkedin was the largest factor that got the young man in the poster hired. I again show that young adults are more likely to get hired if they have a LinkedIn profile with the imagery of the young man’s speech bubble. In speech bubble, the imagery of him with the LinkedIn logo on his suitcase and him getting chosen in the lineup, is suggesting that his presence on Linkedin got him the job. The text in the young man’s speech bubble— also suggests that if students who have “linked-in” the internet realm— have a better chance of getting hired.

The second point that I want to imply is that some of the young adults that come to college to party or to have fun, most importantly, should clean up their online reputation by utilizing LinkedIn in their social medias. In the poster, I present  “the young frat boy” look and persona, depicted by the young man’s faux mohawk and sunglasses. The imagery of the young man’s college party life (cool shades) juxtaposed with his professionalism(suit) shows that he is breaking the stereotype of the irresponsible college student. His duel life shows that young adults can have fun and be professional. The checklist also indicates that he is breaking free from the “the young frat boy” persona( which is seen in the media as young men who ruin their professional reputation by posting pictures of them partying and drinking, or simply being irresponsible with the content they put online)  by having a clean online identity and being proactive in the online community— i.e., having his LinkedIn “in check”.

The third point I want to imply that it is crucial that young adults act now. That they should be actively building their online images now and sharpening their professional qualities. In my poster, I imply this with the glaring and strong red font. The red font in the poster depicts the urgency– that is commonly associated with that color– and so it should express the importance of acting now to my audience. Red is also a very aggressive color—and with that I want to evoke a little fear of the possibility not getting hired. So I am aggressively suggesting that my audience should create a LinkedIn account by underlining it in red. I am hinting that if my audience do not have the qualities printed/underlined in red, then they should fear for their professional future. I want to invoke fear because the job market is a competitive field, and young adults need to be a little fearful, so they have a drive to compete. Also, the red font paired with the checkmarks, clearly tells my audience what they should be doing. The periods in the phrases in the poster, suggests an ultimatum. I want my audience to understand that if they want to do well in this competitive job market they need to expand themselves efficiently and immediately–by presenting themselves as skilled and accomplished beings–on the internet. Thus I paired the periods with professional qualities listed in the poster(experience, communication, education, skills and LinkedIn) implying that these requirements are absolutely needed to compete and do well in the competitive job market. A period paired with the phrase “link-in and get picked” also hints that acting now and creating a LinkedIn is ultimately what young adults should be doing right now

After a semester of researching and informing myself on social media, I truly understand the weight that your online image holds in your social and professional life. Social media can do wonders for your professional career, and so I want young adults to start using it effectively. LinkedIn is the most effective of the social medias in getting people hired. In my research, I found that LinkedIn had statistically shown to aid young adults in their professional career, and so I hope that my PSA convinced my audience to start a LinkedIn.

Image source:

image of man getting picked:

blue check:

black check:

image of the young man:

LinkedIn logos :

hired logo:


Why Social Media Screening is Unethical

Image from Google
Image from Google

With the recent addition of social media in the job recruitment process, companies have more information on job candidates, possibly too much information.

The introduction of social media in the recruitment process has led to many heated debates and after researching both sides of this debate, I believe job recruiters should not screen a candidate’s social media account during the recruitment process because of it is invasive to the job seeker and can quite possibly be illegal.

Social media screening is invasive to the candidates privacy. As the name entails, social media is designed for social and personal use, and so it should not be to a platform for recruiters to seek out professionalism. The purpose of Facebook and many other social media accounts is to be a place where people can interact with family and friends. So accessing  information on Facebook or any other social media site wouldn’t tell a recruiter how a candidate would perform on the job, so what entitles them access to it? There is no reason for them to seek out information about a candidate’s professionalism on Facebook because there’s LinkedIn for that. Also, the content posted on Facebook profiles isn’t something that candidates expect recruiters to see, because of its personal nature. So when recruiters do screen social media accounts, it’s seen as highly unprofessional. I mean who would want to work for a place that thinks it’s okay for them to pry into your personal life?  In fact, a study done by North Carolina State University researchers, reported that job candidates who found out that their social media profiles were being screened by recruiters were less likely to view the hiring process as honorable and less likely to take up the job offer.

Image from Google

In some cases, social media screening is found to be illegal. When recruiters screen social media sites, like Facebook or Twitter, they may involuntarily uncover “protected class” information.  There are “federal and state laws that say an applicant’s protected class information; age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability and veteran status cannot be considered when a company is screening job applicants”(Ohio State Bar Association). For instance, a candidate’s’ Facebook page can disclose information that a recruiter is not legally supposed to know during the recruitment, like the”protected class” information mentioned in the latter sentence. If it’s discovered that the recruiter ultimately relied on that information — intentionally or unintentionally — it could lead to discrimination lawsuits. Being exposed to “protected class information” can also introduce bias or prejudice into the hiring process, and can make it impossible for a recruiter to make objective, non-discriminatory hiring decisions. To avoid possible discrimination lawsuits and the possibility of having your biases negatively affect a candidate’s livelihood, it’s best for recruiters to avoid screening personal social media accounts.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 2.33.09 PM
Image from Go-gulf

Although social media screening, as I mentioned in my post  “Recruiters Call For The Use Of Social Media,” can be used to find information about a candidate work ethic, after doing more research on the subject, I found out I was mislead because most of the social media screening being done are not inquiring about a candidate’s professionalism (which is what should be inquired about). Rather recruiters are focusing their evaluations and eliminating candidates if they “posted provocative/inappropriate photographs or information or if they was information about them drinking or using drugs” on social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, which again are outlets meant for personal use and not for professional use. These sorts of inquiries have nothing to do with how the candidate performs at work and, therefore, should not be looked up or be the main influences that factor into a candidate’s evaluation.

It’s necessary for a candidate to feel safe in the work environment. So how can recruiters expect to have outstanding employees if they don’t trust them in the beginning? To create a healthy and safe work environment for job seekers and recruiters, recruiters/companies should altogether ban the screening of personal social media accounts(ie Facebook and Twitter) during job recruitment or create strict guidelines that protect the privacy of candidates and prevents discrimination.

A Jobseekers Point of View

Image from Google

As progressive as social media is, people ought to question if social media screening is acceptable in the work environment. Job Seekers debate whether or not recruiters should screen social media profiles during the recruitment process. I think job seekers make their best arguments when they claim that the use of social media during a recruitment process is  an attack on their privacy and that it leads to discrimination during the hiring process.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 12.28.32 PM
Image from Go-gulf

Job candidates are questioning if using social media to screen candidates is an ethical approach to recruitment; are recruiters taking candidate inquiry too far and invading the privacy of their candidates? Job applicants have no problem with recruiters screening sites like Linkedin—a business networking platform; they do, however, have a problem with the screening of personal accounts like Facebook and Twitter. On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, people tend to share their photos, opinions, likes and dislikes, they discuss their beliefs and ideas and many people would like to keep that information private. Job seekers expect to disclose that type of information only to their family and friends– and yet one-third of all US employers screen personal social media networks for job applicants’ information early in the recruitment  process and it’s found that 76 percent of the searches done are on Facebook and 53 percent on Twitter. Job candidate’s problem with using sites like Facebook and Twitter is that those sites are meant to be personal and they contain information that a recruiter has no right over. This sort of “snooping” around makes candidates lose faith in the company that’s hiring them. Will Stoughton, a doctoral student in industrial psychology, published a study in the Journal of Business and Psychology, which reported that applicants “feel they have been treated unfairly” when recruiters screen personal social media accounts–especially when they are not informed–  “and are less likely to accept the job offer because they interpret this poor treatment– such as screening via social media– as an indication of how they would be treated on the job”(Jacobson).

Image from Google

Job seekers also make the argument that information found on an applicant’s personal social media accounts can lead to discrimination. Because social media screening is a relatively new application in the recruitment process, many companies do not have clear guidelines or policies on how to screen social media accounts should be evaluated. In CareerBuilder’s 2014 survey found that “51 percent of employers who research job candidates on social media said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire the applicant”(Grasz). What type of content did recruiters find that caused them not to hire some candidates? Well, information about a candidate’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability status is generally what a recruiter would find in candidates social media account.To use this information to reject candidates would be going against “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 the Americans with Disabilities Act and other anti-discrimination laws which prohibits employers from making hiring decisions on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as an applicant’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability status.”(Jacobson)

Image from The Wall Street Journal

Carnegie Mellon University conducted an experiment in which they created mock resumes and social media profiles to test if companies discriminated when screening candidates. In the experiment, mock Facebook profiles that indicated that a candidate was Muslim received callbacks 2 percent of the time while candidates with mock Facebook profiles that indicated that they were Christians received callbacks 17 percent of the time. The recruiters in this situation obviously got caught up in their biases and poorly evaluated many candidates. Although this was a simulated experiment, these discriminating situations still hold true for many job candidates today.

Recruiters Call For The Use Of Social Media

3 Ways to Use Social Media to Recruit Better Tech Talent (Image from cio)

As the job market branches out onto the digital plane, many people come to a debate over the idea of using social media in job recruitment. One side, the job recruiters, are in favor of using social media accounts to screen their candidates. Recruiters make their best argument for the use of social media accounts during recruitment, when they say that screening social media accounts allows for an enhanced and thorough assessment of the candidates.

The top three social media outlets that recruiters review (Image from

Each month, nearly 30% of the world’s population use sites like Facebook, Instagram and Google+ to connect with people and to access information from all over the world. So it is nearly impossible to think that these social platforms would not be utilized in job recruitment processes. In fact, it was reported in Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, that an astounding “93 percent of the 1,855 recruiting professionals plan to use social media in their recruiting process”(Kasper).

(Image from

In the article “3 Ways to Use Social Media to Recruit Better Tech Talent”, the author, Sharon Florentine, presents ways recruiters use social media screening to enrich the recruitment process. She states that surveying a candidate’s social media account gives recruiters a glimpse into their candidates lives– which aids for better assessment of the candidate. When recruiters screen social media account for the recruitment, it allows them a chance to get to know their candidate even before the interviews–this then endorses a healthy and safe environment for the recruiter and the candidate when the interviews and face to face processes take place. She also mentions that recruiters use social media accounts because they can provide detailed information about a candidate’s background and work experience. Successful recruiting can only happen through the screening of social media because “it allows not only information about a candidate’s experience and skills, but a better glimpse into their lifestyle, values and their cultural fit, which is crucial for companies looking not just to recruit and hire, but also to engage employees and improve retention rates”(Florentine). When recruiters screen their candidates– through LinkedIn or Facebook, they get to see the personality of the candidates, and this valuable insight can help them accurately and judge the candidates.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 12.25.05 PM
(Image from Jobvite)

Recruiters also argue that it’s often overlooked that social media screening has proven to be extremely useful for discovering and sourcing their candidates. In a recent study conducted by CareerBuilder found that “33 percent of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate and nearly 23 percent found content on their social media accounts that directly led to them hiring the candidate”(Grasz). In the eyes of the recruiters, social media has played a role as a supplementary factor in their selection process and more than likely it has led to the betterment of the candidates.

The Switch app (image from businessinsider)

Yarden Tadmor, CEO and founder of anonymous job search and recruiting app Switch says that social media screening is especially vital when discovering talent with the “perfect cultural fit”. Switch “filters candidates through the lenses of their Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds and other platforms”, which helps recruiters select the candidates that would “fit the culture” of their company(Florentine). Recruiters analyze the information on the social media accounts and then judge if the candidates are equipped–socially– enough to work in their companies. This “social” analysis can only be acquired through social media accounts.

Recruiters also want to stress the fact that using social media is one of the many components in the recruitment process. Cristin Sturchio, global head of Talent at Cognolink believes that introducing Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin within the recruiting process is inexhaustible–and to get rid of it would be taking a step back in the sphere of recruitment. “When we’re on the fence about a candidate’s resume, we use LinkedIn to find out how involved they are in the LinkedIn community and throughout the industry”(Florentine). Other methods, such as interviews and resumes are still used, and very much factor in the recruitment process but social media screening is a medium that allows for the recruitment process to be simple and fruitful– and to take or limit that away would be disservice to the time and effort everyone( job seekers and recruiters) puts into the recruitment.

The Online Reputation Management Industry

digitalfootprint-reputation (1) logo (Image from Google)

What do online management companies offer in terms of fixing their clients online reputation? How can we avoid a fate like Justine Sacco’, a social media user who tarnished her reputation with a single tweet. Some specific questions I hope to answer are; how can one stop others from slandering their reputation online? If somehow does mess up your reputation online, how much will it cost you? What sorts of additional services do these companies offer?

Michael Fertik, creator of (Image from Peter DaSilva for The New York Times)

Sometimes what is said about ourselves online is not of our doing. So where can people go to stop others from slandering their online reputation?, a leader in the online reputation management industries, might have the answer. Michael Fertik, the CEO of the online reputation management company, says the primary goal of his website is to navigate through Google’s program to highlight positive content and to minimize harmful content for their clients.In an interview, Michael Fertik, answered some questions about what his website can do–in terms of fixing rid a damaged online reputation– for his customers, businesses and individuals. In the article the a reader had asked “How do you help companies protect their online reputations?” , Michael Fertik said his company had a procedure in which “they move their customers favorable content such as excellent reviews and promotions higher up in the search ranking, so the defaming material is less available”(Mount). However, if someone is deliberately and consistently defaming your reputation, Michael Fertik says, “that must first be taken up with law enforcement”(Mount). The next step then, as mentioned before, is to divert attention away from the slander on search engines by advertising and your positive assets. I think this is a useful technique because most people will not get past the second page when “googling” someone or something. So the best way to clean or maintain a clean digital profile for anyone is to put out positive and quality content on the Internet! The more quality content you put on the Internet (via your social media accounts or blogs), the better your online reputation looks.

Another question that I wanted to inquire was if someone did belittle your reputation online, how much is going to cost you? In an article addressing Representative Anthony Weiner’s lewd photo social media scandal, Michael Fertik stated “annual membership fee for his website is $99. Annual membership fee costs can easily reach $10,000 for a prominent person, like Anthony Weiner, who wanted to make a scandal harder to discover through Internet searches”(Sullivan). Fairfax Group, a risk and reputation management firm, can also suppress harmful information about their clients for a large sum of $500 to $1,000. If the client wants complete eradication of their information from the Internet, then it could wind up costing them thousands more. Thankfully though for the average person, who may suffer from an Internet bully or happened to make one ill thought tweet, ninety-nine dollars isn’t a bad price.

06gw-privacy2-blog480’s Control Panel (Image from The New York Times)
Social Monitoring’s Control Panel ( Image from The New York Times)

The last question that I tried to answer was; what other additional things do online management companies offer in terms of fixing or maintaining a client’s reputation online? Many people have information stolen by applications from their social media accounts and the information, may it be pictures or posts, can be used to defame someone. in collaboration with Facebook has come out with an app,, another social media managing company, also came out with the app called Social Monitoring. Both apps are browser plugins and aim to monitor the privacy levels on social media accounts. and Social Monitoring assess what information is accessible to Facebook applications. They then assess if the apps are trustworthy if they are deemed not then and Social Monitoring flag the applications that are breaching your data.  Monitoring your online reputation is as easy as downloading an app.

With the world getting more and more digital, the online reputation industry is booming. It seems that online social management organizations are abundant and offer variety solutions regarding managing an online reputation. I’m looking forward to what more the online reputation industry will provide.

The Employer versus the Job Seeker

Is it wrong for companies to use social media as determining factor when screening job candidates? Are job seekers wrong for not wanting screenings of their social media accounts during the recruitment process?

One group, the job seekers, argue that employers should not have the right to evaluate candidate’s social media accounts when choosing workers. In a Eurocom Worldwide survey, it was found that one in five technology industry executives have opted to not hire a candidate because of their social media profile. It’s understandable then when job seekers do not want their social media accounts screened because it seems that it can negatively impact their chances at employment even if they have outstanding credentials.

Job seekers, like most people, prefer to keep their professional, and personal lives separate. The University of Dayton, Antioch College, Sinclair Community College, and Wittenberg University(Lory) surveyed 2,000 students and revealed “many students tended to draw sharp lines between their personal lives and their professional faces”(Lory). So, is it even reasonable for an employer to look at a candidate’s social media profiles, when there’s already an established methodology to evaluate candidates? Why do employers feel the need to invade a candidate’s personal accounts when they can examine your resumes, your past jobs, and your professional accounts( e.g., LinkedIn). They also interview you and your previous employers.

Image from Google

In theory, all companies should care about is the candidate’s professional abilities for the job. If a job recruiter can not make up their mind about the candidate through the long processes of face to face interaction and credentials involved with job applications then what more could they possibly know through social media accounts? So when job recruiters do use Facebook to screen candidates, they essentially are doing nothing but invading the applicant’s privacy.

Another reason as to why recruiters should not use social media accounts for job recruitment is because it’s changing the way we interact with social media. Social media started out as a platform for people to connect with others on larger cyber field. However, with the job market using social media as tool to pick and choose candidates, it has become less of “social profile” and more of a “career profile”. The Internet; the very medium that presents us with copious amounts of information, allows for global communication and enables us to express ourselves is now causing us to restrict ourselves more—now we have to privatize our Facebook pages and speak in neutral, politically correct terms because our long-term career success depends upon it.

Image from Google

On the other hand, the job recruiters, find examining social media an additional tool when surveying their candidates. Social media accounts are helpful to job recruiters  because they, “identify an applicant’s professional qualifications, communication skills, and well-roundedness and determine an applicant’s potential organizational “fit””(U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Job recruiters argue that Internet profiles like Facebook can show the impartial personality and behavior of the candidates. In some cases, candidates will give out false information or lie about their personality on their resumes or in interviews. So to check the authenticity of the job seekers, recruiters feel that it is appropriate to check Facebook and other social networking accounts to see if candidates are honest.

There is also nothing lawfully wrong with employers searching on Facebook,“ as long as you’re treating all applicants equally”(Lory) said Darren Kaltved an associate director at Career Center for Science and Engineering (CCSE) at UM. Although there is very little legislation placed for the use of  the internet profiles when screening candidates, employers should heed to NACE principles— “recruiting, interviewing, and hiring individuals outside of  race, color, national origin, religion and so on”(Naceweb).

Online Social Management and Education

Image from google

Nowadays, our chances of employment heavily rely on how our we present ourselves online, but not all students keep up with the Internet decorum, some of us need guidance when it comes online presentation. I encourage students to look actively for classes on reputation management or educate yourself on online management.

As I researched how students could build or maintain a professional online reputation, I found some articles showing an impressive and underreported connection between social media and education. I asked myself, why didn’t I learn about managing social media in school? I mean it was just as important if not more, as filling out applications or scholarships. I think more students should engage in the online community and create a respectable online  image for themselves, and I believe that our schools are the best source for this much-needed guidance.

Image from Google

Kevin D. Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University(Wolfman-Arent), conducted a study in which he implemented Facebook groups into his curriculum to see if students would perform better. After applying this technique for two years, he found that by using Facebook, his students actively engaged in the course more and earned better grades. The students discussed and shared their ideas about what they were learning about on the Facebook page.The students also utilized the videos, pictures and quizzes that Professor Dougherty put on the Facebook page. By employing social media in academics, like Kevin D. Dougherty, it gives students an opportunity to engross in intelligent conversations with the Internet community. It allows students to show people ( possibly future employers) an intellectual side to them. It also gives students an opportunity to familiarize themselves in productive and mannered debates. I think more academic institutions should use social media as a teaching mechanism so students can begin to put quality content on the digital platform.

Image from Google

Because the notion of reputation is moving to a digital plane, more and more academic institutions should consider implementing classes on online reputations management. In “How Schools Can Help Their Students to Strengthen Their Online Reputations”, authors Joris Van Ouytsel, Michel Walrave and Koen Bonnet, lay out ways in which high school teachers can help students create “attractive online identities and online portfolios”(Ouytsel) for their academic and professional career. Some of the “preventive online reputation management” methods that they suggest to teachers are, having discussions about why one should maintain a good online presence and “explaining how online background checks work.” Teachers would then tell their students to think about what sort of content employers are looking for, and they were to create mock professional profiles as practice.To understand how to do online background searches, students would get use to googling themselves so they could upkeep their online persona.The authors also mentioned “proactive online reputation management” methods that teachers could convey like, encouraging students to use correct grammar when engaging in conversation online. Also to push students to put themselves out on the Internet by blogging about their interests, ideas or activities. So students were to blog about their achievements, share their ideas and projects through PDFs or on Youtube or Flickr so they would have a favorable imprint  on the internet.

I think that the methods mentioned in the article are always in the back of our minds but if they aren’t practiced then what’s the point. These methods should be taught to college students, if not high school students because these skills are crucial to students if they want to attract employers. As I continue to research the topic, I hope to see the curriculum on online reputation management offered more in schools/colleges.