7 out of 10 employers will monitor your network to keep them safe from you

By Anton Molodetskiy and Roberto Araujo

Picture this: You’re a college student looking to graduate in a few months. Two weeks ago, you blasted job applications and were confident that your academic achievement, experience and skills would help you land your dream entry-level job. After completing your last round of midterms and applying to a plethora of jobs, you and your friends spend your last Spring Break together where you all had an unforgettable time… Little did you know, while you and your friends were partying over Spring Break, a recruiter was able to read your Facebook updates and your friend’s comments. The recruiter, who was initially impressed with your application, decides to move on as s/he’s shocked by the profanity and the racial tone of the comments made by your immature and drunk friends.

Rhonda Wheatley, a job recruiter and career coach in Silicon Valley, told Fast Company, “No matter how liberal a company is (doing the hiring), most would still prefer to hire reliable employees who aren’t out doing heavy partying and/or displaying themselves in photos others may consider distasteful.”

Our new client, Reppler offers a free solution that monitors our online persona. This service will scan content which relates to our updates and comments from our network of friends. Additionally, Reppler notifies you about malicious links, security issues and negative or explicit material.  Like a virtual chaperone, it even gives an overall sentiment of the user on its network and even our own trending Facebook wall words. This allows us to ensure that our online presence is clean and does not compromise our chances of obtaining their next job, promotion or simple ruin our reputation.

Seventy five percent of all job recruiters today use Facebook to evaluate a potential candidate’s online reputation and four out of every five college admissions offices use the social network to recruit students according to Kaplan Test Prep’s 2010 survey of college admissions officers.

In our quest to make our online reputation more exciting or interesting, sometimes decorum is dumped by the wayside.  The number of people who lose their jobs due to an online post on Facebook or the number of students who miss out on that golden opportunity because their profile picture includes them in compromising situations with drugs or alcohol has only increased in recent years.

Elias Aboujaoude, a Stanford psychiatrist discussed in a recent podcast the impact our online personas have on our physical lives. Without actually entering the tron grid, our exciting online selves have begun influencing our real-time selves. However, the results can be damaging. Aboujaoude references a decrease in patience, narcissism, impulsivity and a lack of consideration for others which extends into our off-line lives, becoming ingrained in our personalities.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7nWZdAEw34&w=480&h=390]

Though cloning and gene manipulation are still considered unethical and financially impractical, we have turned to virtual environments to make our lives easier and seemingly more exciting or appealing. The internet has prevailed into all parts of our lives. Where to eat? Yelp it. Who to date? OkCupid or eHarmony. Where to buy books? Amazon or half.com. Music? Rhapsody or iTunes. An internet-linked GPS prevents us from getting lost and Flikr allows pictures of us skydiving to be shared with our legions of “friends” on Facebook.  It doesn’t matter if that skydiving photo was taken over a year ago; our online personalities can exhibit it front and center to make others believe that it’s a regular occurrence in our high-octane lives of accounting and daycare visits. We start and end relationships through email and can be brazen and fearless behind facades of online anonymity.