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  1. Keeping an eye on your online presence – What do your networks and Google say about you?

    February 24, 2015 by Jenna

    As we become familiar with different forms of online networks and methods of communication, our personal brand begins to spread across the World Wide Web. Our data and details are collected in many ways – when we apply for jobs, create social media pages, sign up for competitions or events, etc.

    Most of the information we share we tend to know about as we tailor this information and share it through social networks. However, while we have a certain element of control over what information we share and with whom, if you were to look up your name on Google, what would you find?

    I can’t say that I am too surprised with what I personally find when I look up my name through Google these days. The three main categories I seem to find my name under are:

    • Instagram Image Sharing – As this is more open to the public, the images I share with quotes and hashtags are available to view by the world
    • Event Registrations – Whether they are charity events or races, if I have placed a registration, my name and results are there (to an extent).
    • Corporate Profile/Networks – My company profile is there, blogs I have posted, my LinkedIn profile and other business networks that I am a member of.

    Other information that I wasn’t as aware of included event photos from when I used to work in the events industry and comments that I have made on articles that I follow online. While nothing negative or appalling was revealed, it did make me want to mention the importance of being careful with what you post online.

    This includes reflecting on your emotions during a difficult time and avoiding the use of the internet to vent your frustrations to the world. For example, if you are complaining about your boss and you forget that you have other connections in your network who are also linked to your boss. You could ultimately ruin your dignity and you may also lose your job.

    Keeping a professional image is important for many online avenues. If you attend a networking function with an event photographer present, chances are images will be shared across corporate networks. It is important to keep in mind the behaviour and message you want to portray, especially when trying to establish new connections and relationships.

    It can also be important to have a look online just to see if there are any details that need to be ‘cleaned up’ or updated as well. Sometimes we spend more time on one social network compared to another and therefore we forget to update information that may be relevant. This could include current employment, skill sets, interests/hobbies or courses that you may be attending.

    Have you updated your social media presence? Have you looked up your name on Google lately?


  2. How do you control online productivity suckers?

    February 17, 2015 by Jenna

    Technology has revolutionised the way we work and how we run business. We can obtain data faster, respond to the needs of customers and connect with others locally and globally. We have multiple avenues to source information and tools that help us to be more productive.

    However, with access to so many resources we can also get caught up with many distractions. Our eyes are easily drawn to flashes on the computer screen or mobile phone.

    Anyone can relate to the irritating sound of an alarm going off or the ‘pings’ and ‘zings’ of notifications on mobile phones.  You are not just distracting yourself, others around you are also affected. However, with some simple discipline, you can still be in control of your online networks, without letting it take control of you.

    Silencing Notifications

    There are multiple ways that technology can catch our attention. There are calendar reminders, instant messages, online notification updates on your social media pages, you name it!

    While it is important to keep calendar reminders for appointments chances are most of your other notifications can wait.

    Solution: You have the control to silence the notifications on your phone and disable pop ups on your laptop/PC. If you are receiving texts, chances are if the matter is urgent, the individual can call you directly. While calendar updates are important for reminders, you don’t need to set yourself up to receive every LinkedIn or Facebook notification.

    Sometimes it can be as simple as keeping your mobile off your desk if you feel yourself inadvertently checking it for no reason.

    You can even block sites completely from your PC if you know they will distract you from your work.

    Managing your time to access different resources

    Many emails will not require a direct response, but as the amount of emails increase in your mailbox, it can be easy to get caught up with trying to answer all of them at once. But you will normally find as soon as you finish that last email, all of a sudden, another email pops up.

    It can also be very distracting to be on the phone with a customer or colleague and see the notification come up on your computer screen advising you of a new email. You can find your eyes wander to the subject heading, and then immediately you are thrown off from your conversation.

    Solution: Block out an allocated amount of time to just action emails and nothing else. If any matters are urgent or you need an immediate response, avoid the email trail by making a direct phone call to the person.

    By managing your priorities for the day, you can then allocate time to check on LinkedIn requests, customer queries, and company social media statistics. This may require setting a disciplined routine to start off with so that it becomes a habit to manage your priorities before letting technology distract you.

    Unless Social Media is part of your job description, save your personal updates and group chats for personal time outside of the office or in your breaks.

    How do you deal with online distractions and notifications?


  3. Is It Fair to Consider a Candidate’s Online Footprint During the Selection Process?

    August 12, 2014 by scrowe

    The debate about whether an organisation should use a candidate’s online profile to assess their suitability to join an organisation has been circulating for a number of years now.  Survey results (mainly from the USA and UK) appear pretty inconclusive as to how many are doing it, with figures ranging from 40% to 90% of respondents admitting to using online information in the selection process.

    The basic issues are:

    • Is it an invasion of privacy?
    • Is it fair on shareholders, existing employees and customers to select a person without using all the publically available information?
    • The level of publically available information a person publishes on their own social media accounts is controlled by that person.
    • Not all information available online about a person was authorised by them or is necessarily accurate.
    • Apart from LinkedIn, online information about a candidate is most often used to rule a person out of a job.

    An early article (2010) about the ethics of the subject describes the employer’s position as follows: “According to an article on Ethica Publishing’s web site, ‘When an employer uses Facebook as a means for employment screening, they are practicing the utilitarian approach of ethics [which states that] ‘the ethical corporate action is the one that produces the greatest good and does the least harm for all who are affected – customers, employees, shareholders, the community and the environment.’… Employers do not care if they invade your privacy during their hiring search as long as it is serving the ‘greater good’ by hiring superior employees.”

    Well, my opinion is that an employer (or agency working for an employer) should use the verifiable information that is appropriate for the stage of the recruitment process, the type of organisation and the position being sought.  That means that early in the process it is very appropriate to use information from, for example, LinkedIn (as it only exists for this purpose and all LinkedIn users are very aware of this) and the results of searches regarding a person’s work history.  I do not think it is appropriate to use Facebook or similar information at this stage as this information is predominantly concerned with a candidate’s life away from work.

    Once the person is in the final stages of consideration, though, (typically after interviews have been conducted and the person assessed for both job and cultural fit by the hiring manager and at the time they are being considered for offer) I think it is an appropriate part of a background check to review other sources of information as long as the person is not ruled out without being given the opportunity to respond or validate any unfavourable findings.

    The other consideration that, to my knowledge, has not been fully tested is the legal position.  There have been a number of high profile cases where an employer or agency has been accused of not using all available avenues to verify a person’s history when the history presented has turned out to be false, but I’m not aware of any cases where an employer is pursued because they ruled out a candidate based on information they found online.

    So, what is my conclusion?  I think it is only appropriate to use a person’s online “personal” i.e. non-work, information to confirm the appropriateness of an appointment once the decision has been made using the “traditional” methods (interview, role play, psychometric testing, etc) and that the candidate should have a ‘right of reply’, if needed,  before a final conclusion is reached.




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