Online reputation management can resemble active damage control, especially for the college student who enters the world of professional employment. GetUnvarnished.com and Coworkers.com offer online reputation assistance…or do they?
Online Reputation Management
Facebook is ground zero for many road blocks to a “you’re hired.” Video clips of the recent grad chugging a beer, dancing half-naked on a table and candid photographs of coworkers at the last holiday party (in less than professional poses) provide entertainment to countless thousands.
Not surprisingly, freshly-minted job seekers and seasoned professionals alike are searching for ways to whitewash their online reputation, sometimes by changing names on Facebook profiles.
Of course, online reputation management is difficult to do, especially since savvy human resources managers easily locate applicants via networks, groups and even email addresses. Microsoft(1) reports that 70 percent of hiring managers it surveyed did reveal that they check out an applicant’s online presence and have rejected would-be new-hires based on what they found.
Concurrently, 85 percent report that a positive online reputation does play favorably into a hiring decision.
Get Unvarnished: Third-Party Online Reputation Management?
The unvarnished truth about a professional may be carefully crafted from the ground up with the help of GetUnvarnished.com(2). The intent sounds noble enough: the site suggests that it may be used for “building, managing, and researching professional reputation, using community-contributed, professional reviews.”
An individual’s online reputation is determined by candid postings of coworkers, anyone with a grudge and of course personal friends. Professionals may create their own Unvarnished profiles or claim one that might have been created for them by someone having something to add to the person’s online reputation.
The focus of the site is business-related and posts are anonymous. The Unvarnished community as a whole rates and moderates reviews, which is a form of policing the anonymous nature of the posters. Community guidelines exhort posters to be honest while also being fair.
Profile owners cannot delete negative comments. Is it a setup for adult cyber-bullying or for giving (and getting) the unvarnished truth about a boss, coworker or job applicant?
Thank You Note for Coworkers with Coworkers.com: The Kinder, Gentler Online Reputation Management Source?
Coworkers.com(3) is also interested in online reputation management. Following the adage that discretion is an integral part of valor, the site invites coworkers to comment on others’ job performances in an honest and candid manner. That being said, profile owners have the option of censoring which parts of their online reputation are made public.
In some cases, a worker may choose to take a candid but negative review and use it privately to increase his job performance. Conversely, praise and postings that read like a thank you note for coworkers may become part of the public profile – if the owner okays the postings.
Jonathan Clay, the founder of Coworkers.com, suggests that “if you are just a guy or gal trying to make your way in the workplace, it is simply wrong for someone to be able to spew venom about you for the whole world to see.”(4)