Your (Professional) Reputation Precedes You

Your next employer might know more about you than you think. And you haven’t even interviewed for the job yet.

When job searching, how you communicate and interact with one employer can impact how another employer might perceive you – even before they interview you.

Hiring managers from different companies might know each other from working together at past jobs, from professional associations, or from their companies doing business together.

And managers like to share information about new employees and job seekers with other managers. It’s called networking, and it’s how most employers find candidates.

So, how might you be getting a reputation among hiring manager without knowing it? Check out these scenarios to see if any of them ring true.

Scenario 1:
Company A called you for an interview and you were rude or unprofessional when speaking to their hiring manager — or you didn’t call back Company A at all. Company A could tell Company B to not call you when they have an opening.

Scenario 2:
You had a great interview with Company C, but didn’t get the job. Company C might recommend you to Company D for an interview and you could get hired there.

Scenario 3:
You are hoping to get a job interview at Company E but never get a call. When you follow up, you find out the hiring manager at Company E used to work for Company A and does not consider you a good candidate based on your past actions with Company A.

Scenario 4:
You send your resume to Company D even though they do not have any openings. A hiring manager from Company D meets a manager from Company B and recommends you for a job at Company B.

See you’re your reputation or personal branding can work for and against you?

Remember: Even if a hiring manager only looked at your resume once or briefly talked to you on the phone, he or she has formed an opinion of you. And this opinion can make or break your chances of being a job candidate. The hiring manager also has the option of recommending you to someone else for a different job.

Think of all the managers and past employers you have come in contact with. If they were to give a formal – or informal — reference for you, how would they describe your work ethic, your communication skills, your professional appearance and your overall attitude?

Would they describe you as “having potential,” “professional,” “mature,” “a quick learner,” “eager,” “having a good attitude?”

Or would hiring managers say you “have poor communication skills,” “were unreliable,” “are not serious about finding work in your field,” “were arrogant,” “were slow to respond,” “seemed unenthusiastic,” or “were rude?”

Employers know that most entry-level employees will have the same basic technical skills.

What employers are really looking for in any employee is:

  • a willingness to learn (so they can be trained and learn more skills)
  • good communication skills (so they can interact with customers and coworkers)
  • a good work ethic (so they will show up on time and take pride in their work)
  • and basic respect and courtesy (so they will be pleasant to work with and represent the company well).

What employers think of you is completely in your power.

You decide how employers will perceive you by how you communicate with them – starting with how your resume looks, and how you respond to that first phone call.

You control how you speak to employers and others who could help you find a job. You decide what you will wear when meeting employers. And you have power over your overall attitude and professional image.

In the professional world, reputation is everything. Think about how you want employers and coworkers to view you in the future, and start acting accordingly. Now.

9 thoughts on “Your (Professional) Reputation Precedes You

  1. Denise –

    Helpful correction:

    Reputation “precedes” you. Not “proceeds” you.

    Simple typo, but thought you might want to correct it since people associate this sort of thing w/ your brand.

    No reply needed.


  2. Cool web site, I had not come across previously during my searches!
    Continue the excellent work!

  3. Thank you, that was extremely valuable and interesting…I will be back again to read more on this topic.

  4. The article posted by you is a useful tip to the freshers who are in search of a job.

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