Survey: You Must Manage Your Own Online Reputation

    October 8, 2007

Results from a new survey reveals that half of all employers surveyed said that they search online for information about prospective hires at least some of the time.
The Creative Group
 This means that if you are looking for a job then it is extremely important to make sure that if someone Googles your name and does some research about you then they must find good results.

The survey was conducted by The Creative Group, a company that offers online job search services.

Making a good impression online when someone searches and researches you is imperative nowadays. You absolutely need to make sure that you manage your reputation online, which includes things such as making sure that positive things about you appears in the search engines’ search results. You can keep up with your online reputation by setting up “alerts”, which are available for free from Yahoo! and Google. You can be notified via email whenever a new web page or instance of your name appears online.

Bill Hartzer Online Reputation

As you can see from the screen capture above, I’ve been handling my own personal online reputation for a while now. In fact, a search for my name at Google reveals about 75,000 results (this varies from time to time). Obviously, this blog, right here, is going to rank very well. But take a look at the other search results…articles I’ve written, others sites I own, and other stuff. If you’d like to monitor your own reputation, then set up a Google alert by going here. I recommend that you set several up for different versions of your name if that’s appropriate.

Fifty percent of advertising and marketing executives recently polled by The Creative Group said that they search online for information about prospective hires at least some of the time. Among those who search for information about prospective hires online, fourteen percent have decided not to hire someone based on what they’ve found.

The survey was developed by The Creative Group and was conducted by an independent research firm; it included 250 responses, 125 responses from advertising executives and 125 responses from senior marketing executives.

According to The Creative Group, advertising and marketing executives were asked

“How frequently, if at all, do you use Google or another search engine to learn additional information about a prospective hire?”

They responded as follows:

Always      19%
Sometimes 31%
Rarely 24%
Never 24%
Don't know 2%


Of those who search online for information about prospective hires were asked then asked:

“Have you ever decided not to hire a candidate based on information you found online?”

They responded as follows:

Yes         14%
No 84%
Don't know 2%


Dave Willmer, executive director of The Creative Group, said that professionals should keep all audiences in mind when posting information online. “Search engines make it quick and easy to learn about people,” he said. “If there’s something that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to know about you, don’t post that information in a public forum.”

According to Dave Willmer, executive director of The Creative Group, some hiring managers “search online to gain a better sense of a candidate’s industry involvement and interests.”

“Employers aren’t just looking for red flags,” he said. “They’re also seeking evidence that a potential staff member is invested in the profession, perhaps through participation in trade groups, or industry blogs or message boards.”

Here’s a list of tips for creating an impressive “digital footprint”:

Stack the deck in your favor.

Websites such as allow users to post information about themselves, so consider including details about your professional involvement and qualifications on these types of forums.

Make the most of social networking sites.

Sites such as are good venues for learning about job openings and making new contacts. But be selective in who you allow into your network. Potential employers who have access to your contact list may ask these professionals for referrals.

Share your insights.

Posting your comments on industry forums or authoring online articles in your area of expertise is a smart way to reinforce your professional reputation.

Create your own website.

Along with showcasing industry knowledge on other people’s websites, you also can create your own Internet presence with links to articles of interest, and information about your skills and past achievements. For creative professionals, a website with work samples is especially beneficial, as many employers will want to see prior projects before arranging a job interview.

Be prepared to explain.

If there is unflattering information about you online that you cannot remove, be prepared to offer an explanation to employers who might inquire about it.

The Creative Group is a company that offers online job search services and has local offices in many major markets in the USA and in Canada.