Learning the Art of the Rep



In today’s world you have to expect that before you ever get that call for a job interview the HR manager has already googled you, looked you up on Facebook and or have reviewed your Linkedin profile. According to the search engine journal in February 2012 80% of companies use social media for recruiting.

The rise of social media has made it easy for us to post what we are doing online and while sharing a joke with friends may be good it could be depending on the content be grounds for dismissal. In 2010 Auckland postie Lyndon Hohaia was dismissed by the New Zealand Post after creating a comical blog on his Facebook page about a fictional postman.

He argued the firing was unjustified and the case was later settled out of court leaving the question about his original dismissal unresolved but his case like others in New Zealand and around the world show what you post on social media can come back to haunt you. Just ask the 13 crew members of Virgin Atlantic who were dismissed in 2008 after referring to referred to employees as “chavs” and who joked about faulty engines with the incident being covered by the Guardian soon after.

Although Hohaia’s case was about getting fired from his job, how many people just at the start of their careers will not be contacted for an interview because of what a potential employer has found online. In a study done by the Society of Human Resource Management 36% of organizations who participated in the study found something in their screening that caused them to disqualify a candidate from a position.

The pace of innovation online has meant that the amount of information that potential employers, clients and stakeholders have access to is greater than ever before. With approximately 70% of kiwis having a smartphone according to the Pew Research Centre posting a picture or commenting on an article is just a tap away.

In a 2012 report on the use of Social Media in HR by KPMG for the USA 84% of those looking for work have a Facebook profile with almost half of them using Facebook for some job seeking activity in the last year. At the beginning of 2016 according to We Are Social there were 2.307 billion active users of social media but while that number has continued to rise so has our awareness of the risks.

Part of this has been seen in the rise of new social platforms like SnapChat which allows people to selectively share pictures, videos and snippets with select friends only once before they are deleted and there are plenty of apps and techniques that can save those moments which is just another reason to be careful of what you post and where even if those moments are here for one moment and gone the next.

Once something is online in many cases it stays there and that strength can also be a curse. For professionals like lawyers, Doctors and Accountants your reputation is everything and if stained by bad reviews or one news article or several, it can be difficult if not impossible to remove and the damage is done.

A single bad review for a professional can often mean the difference between a client setting an appointment or looking for someone else and that is what can help you prevent.

I am doing content for the Digital Squad but am also putting it up on my own site. My personal view of reputation management it is not about good or bad but how you respond to it that counts. I don’t what I would do but in personal branding a real person isn’t always going to be perfect and its being honest about that counts.

Be aware of what you post, use platforms like Snapchat to keep those signals for those who you want to get them but never be afraid to be who you are.


I wrote this for the Digital Squad (The need for reputation management is growing whether you want to be on the first page or what that article about you off of first page. At the Digital Squad, based in Auckland we use our expertise in SEO and proven white hat techniques to help you to get those articles off the first page.)