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  • 13 December 2012 09:23

New research shows your online profile impacts your employment chances

New AVG research from the UK and the US reveals the extent to which recruiters are using social media to vet applicants and how young job seekers who display irresponsible behaviours are reducing their chances of gaining an interview.

AVG’s latest research shows that the Internet, and social networks in particular, has changed the way HR professionals approach the recruitment process. Online content posted about or by a candidate has become the modern day equivalent of a first interview.

The survey of 230 HR Professionals in the UK and US, as part of AVG Technologies’ most recent Digital Diaries study, found that most search unprotected social media profiles to assess candidate suitability. Digital Baggage, the sixth instalment of AVG Technologies’ Digital Diaries study, features responses from 4,400 18-25 year olds in 11 countries (including Australia) to AVG’s questions as to how they manage their social network profiles.

The recruiters, who are using the gamut of social media platforms to vet candidates, verified that too many young job seekers are still not acting responsibly online. The majority of 18-25 year olds themselves revealed in the survey that they had never reviewed their online profile, even though it could potentially have an impact on their career prospects.

Associate Professor Peter Holland* from Monash University in Melbourne, said: “This timely research should be a wakeup call to all prospective employees, particularly younger candidates who have grown up with social networking - working in a digital age brings a new dimension to the need to be careful what you say and do in a public space.”

More than 90 percent of US human resources managers consider the posting of nude photos online as a reason not to interview candidates. Other reasons include: evidence of obnoxious behaviour (91 percent); a negative or derogatory comment about a previous employer (nearly 95 percent) and extremist views about topics such as race (93 percent).

In contrast, over two-thirds of US and UK HR Professionals had actually been positively influenced by the online presence of a job applicant, with nearly three-quarters relying on LinkedIn to conduct their online searches, even though only one in three UK recruiters fully trusts the information candidates post about themselves.

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG Technologies AU, said: “In a competitive job market, there are major advantages for savvy candidates to differentiate themselves with a clean online brand. By proactively managing their online profile and taking control, they will help create an image of a responsible potential employee.”

AVG’s 3 Top Tips for creating a clean online brand:

1. Privacy

Create a clear distinction between your private and work life. Take the time to set every level of privacy in each social networking site you sign up to.

Nearly a third (31 percent) of working Australian 18-25 year olds are ‘Facebook friends’ with their boss. AVG’s research also finds that 62 percent of Australian young adults who are ‘friends’ with their colleagues do not restrict the content co-workers are able to access.

Regular reviews of social networking friend lists is a must. If you have drifted away from someone, then ‘unfriend’ them. It’s a silent operation, they aren’t notified, and you are able to maintain control over who your ‘friends’ are and what is known about you.

2. Clean out career damaging content

From the study, 54 percent of respondents admitted they had never audited their online profiles or cleaned-up potentially career damaging content. As your online profile extends across LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Instagram and Flickr – and more as time goes on – careless attitudes expressed and photos posted when you were 18 could have repercussions when viewed by a recruitment agency when you are 25.

3. Passwords and security

Show a responsible attitude to security - you don’t want to be the source of a malware attack on work colleagues or recruiters.

Protect your devices and information by running the latest applications and operating systems; plus always on, automatically updating security software on every networked device. Change every default setting to a strong individual password, and switch on every security option embedded in your smart devices.


*Associate Professor Peter Holland is the co-author of The Electronic Workplace Survey: Analysis of the First National Survey on Employee Attitudes to Electronic Monitoring and Surveillance in the Australian Workplace.

About AVG Digital Diaries

The first stage of AVG’s Digital Diaries campaign, Digital Birth, focused on children from birth to age two. The study, released in October 2010, found that on average, infants acquire a digital identity by the age of six months old. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of children have had their pre-birth scans uploaded to the Internet by their parent – establishing a digital footprint even before birth. The second stage, Digital Skills, was released in January 2011 and showed that for two to five year olds, ‘tech’ skills are increasingly replacing ‘life’ skills. In fact, many toddlers could use a mouse and play a computer game, but could not ride a bike, swim or tie their shoelaces.

Digital Playground, released in June 2011, found nearly half of six to nine year olds talk to friends online and use social networks. This was followed with Digital Maturity in November 2011, which revealed how 11 year olds had developed adult skills in technology. Digital Coming of Age, the fifth instalment of AVG’s Digital Diaries study was released in April 2012, which interviewed parents of 14-17 year olds, found that nearly half of parents keep tabs on teens via Facebook, latest AVG Technologies’ research reveals.

Research for all stages of the Digital Diaries series was conducted by Research Now on behalf of AVG Technologies.

More information visit:

About AVG —

AVG Technologies’ mission is to simplify, optimise and secure the Internet experience, providing peace of mind to a connected world. AVG’s powerful yet easy-to-use software and online services put users in control of their Internet experience. By choosing AVG’s software and services, users become part of a trusted global community that benefits from inherent network effects, mutual protection and support. AVG has grown its user base to 143 million active users as of 30 September, 2012 and offers a product portfolio that targets the consumer and small business markets and includes Internet security, PC performance optimisation, online backup, mobile security and identity protection.

AVG Media Contacts:

Michael McKinnon AVG 03 9581 0845

Shuna Boyd BoydPR 02 9418 8100

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