Q: Tell us about yourself and what you do.
A: I immigrated to the United States from Kiev, Ukraine in 1991, right before the fall of the Soviet Union. After graduating from college, I became an accounts manager at a large advertising company. It’s a great job, good pay, with benefits.
Q: What are some social media gaffes that would make you say to yourself, “I would never consider hiring that person?
A: Racist slurs, sexist jokes (such as rape jokes of any kind, especially if they’re about minors), homophobic slurs, ethnic slurs…. Those will all eliminate you as a candidate for most decently paying employers. It doesn’t matter what your class rank is. If you’re doing these things online, smart hiring managers will find it. And when managers do find stuff like that, we don’t want you on our team. Smart managers won’t even consider you for an initial phone screening interview. If you’re not sure if it’s inappropriate, err on the side of caution.
Q: You have a great job. Were you the top of your class in college?
A: No. My ability to speak three completely different languages (Russian, Ukrainian, and English), as well as my prior work experience, established an edge for me. Adaptability to different kinds of people really helps in a tight job market.
Q: What is your advice for someone trying to clean up their online presence?
A: You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there forever.” But you can balance it out with posting positive things about you. Blogs highlighting your achievements, Linkedin endorsements from a manager, these can offset negative press.
People tend to only browse the first page of google search results, so even if there is compromising information about you out there, if there is much more good information about you, then that can outweigh the bad.
Vitaliy Demyanik is an online branding expert residing in San Francisco.