Do You Care For Your Professional Online Image?

online image


Maintaining a good online image is important especially for students and job seekers. Today, most employers would search you online to have an idea about this prospect employee that would integrate their business.

So, you should be mindful of what they would find. Do you have professional social media profiles? Do you post comments and photos that would make reconsider a job offer?  Then, you should take care of your online prints and make sure that your online image is good and professional.

A group of researchers from Central Michigan University, USA and Australian National University, Australia have led a study in which they investigated factors that influence a student’s concern for presenting a professional online image. The study is published in Journal of Internet Social Networking & Virtual Communities.

A lot of people don’t consider that what they are posting and sharing online may be viewed by other people other than their friends. Thus, a lot of them don’t filter what they are posting. For students and job seekers, this is a mistake that would prevent a prospect job offer.

Researchers of the study stated that “according to a recent survey of more than 600 human resources and recruiting professionals, 70.3% of respondents always or occasionally review a candidate’s social networking profile”. This means that your posts might play a big role in the employee’s decision to get you recruited. “Companies are now being advised to use social networking sites when making hiring decisions… 35% of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire a candidate” the study stated.

Researchers investigated some factors that might strongly affect students’ online image including time to graduation, social factors, privacy concern and being on the (job) market.

Student’s Time to Graduation

Researchers reported a number of studies that explored this concern.  The study stated for instance that “previous research has shown that the earlier students are in their college careers, the more likely they are to post material that they acknowledge would be seen as inappropriate by potential employers”.

Instead, when “students approach graduation, they begin to view the process of getting a job in a much more concrete way.  This may cause them to remove inappropriate content because they now realize their online image could put their job search in jeopardy.”

Student’s Social Factors

Studies noticed that students’ social milieu has effects on his behaviors. The study stated that “, the posting behavior of a student’s friends will directly affect what the student posts.  If the student’s friends post content in their profile that is less than professional, the student is also likely to post unprofessional content in order to comply with the group norm.  On the other hand, if the student’s friends are concerned about presenting professional images online, then the student is likely to do the same.”

Student’s Privacy Concern

Researchers scrutinized the impact of privacy concern on students’ online image. The study noticed that even “the desire for privacy may seem universal, for many social networking users, it does not appear to be a major concern.”  Privacy is not a major concern for all people, instead “It varies from person to person based on each individual’s perceptions and values.  This means that student concern for privacy is likely to span the gamut from highly concerned to completely unconcerned.”

On social media, it’s never privacy is never completely guaranteed. Researchers stated that even “students with an elevated concern for privacy would also be concerned with the image presented in their online profile.”

Student’s Job Search

Searching for a job and being in the job market differs from student to other. “Although many students begin applying for professional jobs during their senior year (close to graduation), there are some students who begin the job search much earlier, seeking co-ops and internships as early as their freshman year (far from graduation)” the study stated.

The student’s behavior changes when he “considers him, or herself, to be on the market”. When search for job is “much more concrete in the student’s mind… the student will change his, or her, behavior to conform to the job-seeking goal.  In terms of social networks, this should result in a change to posting content that creates a more professional online image” the study mentioned.

Some Tips to Build Good Online Image

Maintaining a good online presence is something necessary for those who care about their image, especially students and job seekers. Here are some tips that might be of great help to keep a neat image that would help recruiters pick you for a prospect job.

Google yourself. Make sure that you Google your name regularly to see what is shown in the search engine about you. If your name is related for instance to half-dressed and naked pictures or any inappropriate content, then this is not a good sign of your online reputation.

Clean your social media profiles. What you share is what you are, simple as this. Other people, rather than your friends, including employers, are likely to visit your social media profiles. So, if they find inappropriate content shared on your profile, then it would negatively impact their decision to recruit you.

You may make your profiles more personal by considering Privacy Settings, but it’s never guaranteed that what privacy won’t be breached. Yet, the safest way of keeping inappropriate content out of sight is by not publishing it.

Build a personal website or blog. The first step of having a good online presence is not posting inappropriate content, and the second is correlating your name with good content. You can do that by creating your own website or blog and updating it with content that reflect your skills. So, when someone searches your name, search engines will show that content and you’ll get chance of being noticed by employers.

Employee’s Performance Evaluation Needs to Be Fair

job performance


Evaluating employee’s performance is one of the necessary procedures in an effective management process. Reviewing employee’s performance routinely provides an understanding between the organization and the employee.

Human resource management departments use what is known as performance appraisal or also known as performance review. This evaluation system helps measure employee’s performance and the organization allocates rewards based on that. Also it helps improve this performance by providing advice to put things on the right track. But this system needs to be fair and just.

A recently published study has investigated the organizational justice in performance appraisal system. The study which is carried by researchers from Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara , Malaysia is published in an international Journal of Human Resources Management Research.

When the employee gets feedback including encouragement and criticism over his work he knows what is expected from him and knows if his performance is questioned.  The organization, in turn, will keep an eye on performing employees and reward them for that.

Also, this communication offers a chance for employers to know needs and concerns of their employees. As the study stated it “performance appraisal is an ongoing communication process between employees and supervisors. Supervisors should set expectations, monitor performance, and provide feedback to employees. By having this information, they will direct and develop employee performance by identifying training and development needs, correcting, and determining raises and promotions”.

But what makes success of this evaluation system is its fairness. Researchers stated that “the employee’s perception of fairness is the ultimate check for the success of the system… The components of fairness, procedural as well as distributive, should have a positive impact on the employee in order to make him accept the whole procedure and its results without any reluctance.”

What is important is the belief of employee in fairness of performance appraisal system. In contrary to previous researches done on this matter, researchers stressed that “interactional justice has more influence than other types of organizational justice in evaluating employee’s performance”.

Employees need to feel they are evaluated based on tasks and activities related to their job, and not something else. “The employees consider the procedure-based fairness is more important than the equal-distribution justice …In addition, they are willing to accept some injustice in the outcomes if they perceive the procedure itself to be fair” stated by the study.

If the employee does not believe in the appraisal system fairness, he will feel unsatisfied. Researchers mentioned that “the appraisal process can become a source of extreme dissatisfaction when employees believe the system is biased, political, or irrelevant… the employees need a good and fair performance appraisal system to provide them with feedbacks regarding their job, leading to their job satisfaction, and generating an increased work performance”.

A good communication is needed between the employee and organization over and after the evaluating process. “Employees are more concerned on interaction during and after the evaluation process. They are keen on knowing how they have been evaluated and what the feedback of their superior is after the performance appraisal process” researchers mentioned.

This interaction between the organization and its workforce “provides strong support for the relationship between employee perception of organizational justice in performance appraisal system and work performance. It also supports a significant relationship between performance appraisal satisfaction and work performance.”

Success of any performance appraisal system necessarily necessitates an interaction and active communication with the employee. As stated by the study “the important implication for organization is a pivotal role of the employees’ perceptions of the success or failure of a system. Therefore, the management has to keep in view the perceptions of their employees, while designing or modifying the appraisal system.”

Recommendations to Managers

The study provided a list of recommendations to the organizations and managers to follow to ensure success of their appraisal system:

  • Firms need to manage the performance appraisal process for under-performing staff, both male and female. In particular, it is recommended that managers consider the importance of providing the unsuccessful appraisees with hope in the future.
  • Managers should indicate that another, more developmental session, will follow in a few days to help those staffs to improve on the identified deficiencies and ensure that such a developmental intervention does indeed eventuate.
  • Motivate employees by positive feedback on appraisals. This gives employees a feeling of worth and value, especially when accompanied by a raise.
  • Managers need to recognize that performance appraisal systems are not one size fits all. Best practice may mean that performance systems need to be more open and flexible in order to account for individual differences.
  • Managers need to keep in mind that gender equity in the appraisal process does not mean treating all staff exactly the same and measuring the exact identical criteria.
  • Managers should give the employee greater involvement throughout the performance appraisal process and also train all the participants who are involved so that they can use the feedback more effectively.