How Digital Footprint Helps Recruiters Find out More About You
If you thought you could leave a trail only in the physical world, prepare to be surprised. The online world is also recording your footprints, more popularly known as digital footprints.
What are these, and how do they affect you, especially when seeking jobs: let’s discuss.
Whether you belong to the digital generation or not, you must be using online platforms for entertainment, learning, job-seeking, and whatnot. With this digital usage, you are leaving behind a trail of every action you make. Many people can follow this trail, and potential employers are one of them.
Interestingly, while shortlisting candidates, recruiters use a series of actions before selecting candidates. These actions include tracking prospective employees' digital footprints on different platforms and their interactions and daily activities.
Why do recruiters use digital footprints?
One of the vital aspects of any recruitment process is to find a candidate who will fit into your company's culture. For this person to be successful, they need to produce great work and get along with their coworkers and clients, which ultimately drives revenue.
The power of technology (like researching candidates via their digital footprints) helps recruiters understand the real person behind the name. With this, they get a better sense of how you would fit into the company’s culture, what interests you have, and if your personality will mesh with clients' needs or not.
How do employers use your digital footprints?
Your digital footprint is a result of everything you willinglyshare online. We mean all the YouTube videos, vlogs, blog entries, posts, or images shared on various sites. Remember, once it’s out there, it’s there forever.
You might not be fully aware of it, but your digital footprint can give away a lot of information about your personality (even marital status). It includes age, religion, political opinion, race, and even interests. And, in many cases, these assumptions are made automatically. A passive digital footprint relates to details that you do not give away willingly. It is just how the internet operates.
How to carry out a digital audit for a prospective employer?
If you want to be hired by the top employers in your industry, you must audit your digital footprint primarily at two places: search engines and social media platforms.
On search engines
The first step to performing a personal digital audit is by using search engines. Repeat this process with different search engines. Start your list of searches by doing one for the full name and any shortened names or nicknames you may have used.
It is recommended to conduct this exercise on a different IP address than you usually use. The reason lies with the search engine algorithms that deliver results based on personalized search bias. This simply implies that your search history affects what you see on your screen, and that is not always the same thing someone else will find.
Nicknames alone won't help you find what you need. Try to type in your email addresses and see where they will lead.
On social Media
Apart from the search engine, you also need to do some deep diving into your social media profiles.
As much as you may think employers won't see what you post, they will. So, go back and take a look at your profile on all of those social media sites that you have, irrespective of whether you are active or not. You might find some embarrassing posts or pictures or inappropriate comments from way back when nobody cared about it. Thus, take the time to clean up social media profiles!
How to use the audit to refine your digital footprint for the employers?
You have done all of that research you should, and now you need to know what to do about it.
Maintaining a professional online presence is essential when applying for jobs in today’s competitive job market. The easiest way to make your social media content look more professional is by deleting any pictures or posts that display you in anything but the best light. Ask people who have linked their profiles with yours to remove those links. Increase privacy settings so that only friends can see what you post.
Tips for creating a positive digital footprint
- Use your real name. Hiding behind a fake identity causes a negative impression on the recruiter.
- Be mindful of what you share and how prospective employers would perceive it. Be respectful to others and avoid sharing controversial or questionable opinions. If you have nothing good to say, the best decision is to zip it.
- Use a VPN service, which will encrypt information about your online activities. Fewer online entities will be able to perform IP-based tracking. Thus, your digital journey will become a lot more private, and you will minimize the passive digital footprint.
- If you need an active online presence, take the time to post valuable content. Additionally, you should be consistent with the uploads to give recruiters enough material. However, always think twice before you post!