New Survey Reveals Increase in Job Recruiting Through Social Media

July 14, 2011

If you are currently looking for a new job, keep in mind that social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are some of the most important tools to attract potential employers. A new survey conducted by Jobvite, the leading recruiting platform of the social web, illustrates that more and more employers are using social networking sites to screen potential employees. While the survey focuses mainly on companies’ recruiting efforts, it nevertheless reflects how social networking sites have become an integral part of the hiring process.

Significant survey results:

  • 45% of the respondents always search for candidate profiles (compared to 35% in 2010)
  • 64% have successfully hired a candidate through the a social network
  • 89% will recruit in social networks this year
  • 78% expect increased competition for hires this year

A rise in social media recruiting also increases your responsibility to monitor your online presence more closely, as inappropriate content on social networking sites like Facebook can damage your reputation and limit your chances of being hired.  Clean up your social networking sites and use a monitoring service like Reppler to ensure that you project a professional and safe image at all times!

Job-Seekers Turn To Professional Networking Apps On Facebook

June 29, 2011

Professional networking with social media sites is a growing trend among job-seekers, and while the majority still uses social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter as personal branding tools, others are starting to focus on the biggest network of them all: Facebook.

Facebook has become more than just a way to connect with friends, and plays an increasingly important role in the job search nowadays. Professional networking applications like BranchOut and BeKnown make job-hunting via Facebook more and more attractive, but also require Facebook users to monitor their profiles more closely in order to project a clean, safe and professional image.

BranchOut is currently the largest professional networking service on Facebook with over 800,000 users, and more than 3 million jobs and 20,000 internships to search from. BranchOut users create professional profiles by importing professional data from their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, including employment histories, skills and education. The app allows you to search for companies and then shows you all your friends who either work there or know someone who does. At the same time, companies and individuals can post job openings, which you can share amongst your friends.

Over the weekend, another professional networking app for Facebook entered the market. The recruitment website Monster launched a professional social networking rival to BranchOut and LinkedIn. Monster’s estimated 700 million users will be able to import their information to the Facebook app BeKnown and set up their own networks there. To set up a BeKnown account, users must invite friends on Facebook or other accounts like Twitter, Gmail and LinkedIn. In order to differentiate itself from BranchOut and LinkedIn, Monster added special features to the app, such as badges that users receive when they complete certain professional goals, like graduating from college.

Since Facebook is the largest social networking site with over 750 million users, it is an excellent way to advance your job search if you use the right strategies. Job search via Facebook is particularly attractive to recent college graduates because it gives them a chance to make far more connections than they could solely through in-person networking. However, job-hunters should be extremely careful about what they put on their Facebook profiles. Crazy party pictures or inappropriate content on your wall can damage your reputation and limit your chances of successfully connecting with potential employers.

We recommend users to clean up their profiles before they use their Facebook account to track down job leads, and to have Reppler continuously monitor your Facebook profile. Set up your Reppler account so that you will be notified as soon as flagged content shows up on your profile. Keeping a clean and professional image is the first step towards a promising job-hunt!

Have you used Facebook for job-hunting before? If so, what was your experience?

Pre-Employment Social Media Screening Deemed Legal

June 22, 2011

The incredible boom of social networking sites signals the beginning of an era in which job hunters have to show off more than just an impressive resume. Your online presence and reputation has become an additional focus in recent years, and the number of job applicants that have been turned down due to inappropriate social networking content is rising. In 2009, a CareerBuilder survey revealed that 45% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, with Facebook and LinkedIn noted as the most popular sites. But since the use of social media in the hiring process raises a lot of tricky legal questions, many companies still refrain from integrating social media screening into their employment practices. That is likely to change now…

Last week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission Act dropped the investigation of Social Intelligence Corporation (SIC), a start-up company that provides in-depth background checks for employers including research from social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Social Intelligence complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and anti-discrimination laws by filtering out protected information with regard to race, sex, color, age, national origin or religion, therefore eliminating the risk for employers to get caught up in discrimination charge.

We think it is important to understand that the service offered by Social Intelligence will make it even easier for a potential employer to find out information about you that may be used against you in the hiring process. AllFacebook, an unofficial Facebook blog that provides news, tips and guides on anything related to the social networking giant, cautions users to apply their privacy settings more carefully, as more start-ups with similar services are likely to follow, and social media screening may eventually become an integral part of the hiring process.  Social Intelligence reports include information about explicit photos, profanity, racist remarks (or the “liking” of a racist Facebook group) and any involvement in illegal activities.

We encourage you to clean up your Facebook profile as soon as possible and to use your privacy settings more effectively, if you haven’t done so in the past. SIC does not just screen your Facebook profile on a one-time basis and then discards the information, but actually archives files of Facebook users for up to seven years, even after you deleted inappropriate posts, photos or status updates. With that in mind, we also suggest that you set up your Reppler account so that you will receive instant notification (by default we send a weekly summary) if there is any flagged content on your profile. You can chose your own content categories, including drugs, alcohol, adult content and derogatory language, and Reppler will notify you immediately if you or one of your friends posts something on your wall that is considered inappropriate.

What do you think about this information? Do you care that there might be a file of your Facebook usage archived for several years?

Google Launches New Privacy Tool, Me on the Web

June 17, 2011

At Reppler, we currently focus on monitoring social networks and Facebook in particular, but since we recognize that there may be other, possibly damaging information to be found via search engines, we want to give you a heads up about a new Google privacy tool that assists you with monitoring other web content. Designed to help users protect online privacy and identity, the new tool, Me on the Web, is easily accessible on the Google Dashboard and encourages you to keep track of your personal information as it appears on the web. While Google Alerts already enables users to receive notification whenever their name is mentioned online, the new tool provides additional links to resources about how to protect personal information online and remove unwanted information.

Already existing Google tools make it possible for users to post or search online under a pseudonym, but damage to your reputation often originates from outside sources. As Google states in their Me on the Web announcement,

Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you — whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update.

With an incredible boom in social networking sites, it is alarmingly easy to lose track of any personal information that is spreading through the web. Privacy and online reputation management has become a major issue in recent years, not just in the US, but worldwide. The recent and somewhat extreme case of Gennette Cordova serves as a chilling example for how fast social networking can get out of control and have a serious impact on your reputation and your privacy. Overnight, her name and personal information were displayed all over the web as she got caught up in the scandal over Representative Anthony Weiner’s photographs. So if you want to control how you are being perceived in content that can be found through Google, the Me on the Web tool may be a good start.

Comprenez-vous le Francais? Reppler does.

June 6, 2011

When we launched Reppler in April, we were surprised by how many people from France signed up for the service.  At the same time, we felt bad because we knew all of our French-speaking users were going to be disappointed once they got into the service since we didn’t support the French language.  Well, today we are happy to announce that the Reppler service now supports French.  This support enables the Reppler service to understand posts and comments made in French on a user’s Facebook Wall and to give users feedback on the tone of the language on their Wall and potentially inappropriate content found.  For now, the Reppler website and the service’s user interface remain in English.  We are considering providing a complete French version in the future.

In retrospect, we shouldn’t have been too surprised about the interest of a service like Reppler in France.  Privacy and one’s online reputation are hot topics in France and in Europe, in general.  Since it is so easy for anonymous users to negatively affect the reputation of others, especially with online services like Facebook and Twitter, in early 2010, France considered a law that would have given users the option to have old online data about themselves deleted.  This law, known as the “right to forget” law, would have forced online and mobile firms to dispose of emails and text messages after an agreed length of time or on the request of the individual concerned.  The law didn’t pass but now there is a similar law being debated in Europe.

With such interest in this topic in Europe, we plan to support other languages, like Spanish and German, in the future.  In the meantime, we say “Bienvenue” to our French-speaking users and we welcome any feedback so that we can improve our support of the French language.

Consumer Reports Survey on Online Risks

June 1, 2011

The June 2011 issue of Consumer Reports has the results of their national State of the Net survey of 2089 online households.  The results of the survey, conducted earlier this year by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, can be found here but here are a few findings that caught our eye:

  • Roughly one in five Facebook users hadn’t used Facebook’s privacy controls.
  • Twenty-three percent of active Facebook users didn’t know some of their “friends” well enough to feel completely comfortable about their own or their family’s security or safety. An additional 6 percent admitted to having a friend who made them uneasy about those things. That means almost one in three Facebook users aren’t fully comfortable with all their friends.
  • Many active Facebook users take risks that can lead to burglaries, identity theft, and stalking. Fifteen percent had posted their current location or travel plans, 34 percent their full birth date, and 21 percent of those with children at home had posted those children’s names and photos.
  • More than 5 million online U.S. households experienced some type of abuse on Facebook in the past year, including virus infections, identity theft, and for a million children, bullying.

We believe these results validate many of the things we do with the Reppler service to help users keep their Facebook image clean AND safe.  In the area of cleanliness, we scan the entire Wall of each of our users to provide information about how they can be perceived by others and flag potentially inappropriate content.  Many people believe they don’t have to be concerned about this since they have their privacy controls in place.  As the above results show, not everybody uses their privacy controls and even for many who do, people who are practically strangers are seeing their content since they really don’t know their “friends” well.

In the area of safety, the Reppler service checks for any publicly-available information about a user on their Facebook profile that should be private, like their full birth date or their hometown, to prevent risks like identity theft.  The service also warns users of any links on their Wall that might be malicious so that they don’t fall victim to malware, spam, and other threats.

What do you think of the Consumer Reports findings?  Do they surprise you?

47% of Facebook Users Have Profanity on Their Wall

May 23, 2011

It has been a little over a month since we launched Reppler so we thought it would be a good time to share some statistics we have collected.  These statistics, based on the scanning of the Facebook Wall of the over 30,000 users that have used the Reppler service so far, might be surprising to you:

  • 47% of our users have profanity on their Facebook Wall.
  • 80% of our users who have profanity on their Facebook Wall have at least one post/comment with profanity from a friend.
  • 56% of the posts/comments with profanity on a user’s Facebook Wall come from friends.
  • Users are twice as likely to use profanity in a post on their Facebook Wall, versus a comment.  Whereas friends are twice as likely to use profanity in a comment on a user’s Facebook Wall, versus a post.
  • The most common profane word is derivations of the “f-word”.  The second most common profane word is derivations of the word “sh*t”.  “B*tch” is a distant third.

A couple comments on these statistics…

The prevalence of profanity on Facebook Walls is an increasingly important issue as a user’s Facebook profile comes under closer scrutiny, particularly by employers as they screen job applicants.  Here’s a recent Washington Post article that talks about how the use of obscenity in a work environment can impact how others perceive a person.

The fact that a significant percentage of the profanity on a user’s Facebook Wall comes from friends demonstrates one of the issues with Facebook – users don’t have complete control over the language used on their Facebook Wall, yet the language used by friends can have an impact on how others perceive them.

What do you think of these statistics?  Are you surprised at the percentage of people who have profanity on their Facebook Wall?  Do you have profanity on your Facebook Wall?  If so, do you care?