Keep gossip from affecting your job search
“I’ve heard a really shocking rumor, which I knew couldn’t be true based on our collaborations when we worked together at _______, so I thought it was worth touching base with you directly to get to the bottom of it. I was always under the impression that we both agreed our work together was top-notch and that we parted ways with feelings of mutual respect.”
2. If you are pretty sure this information is from a specific work experience, you can also collect LinkedIn recommendations from people who previously worked with you at that time. Ask for LinkedIn recommendations, which would stack up on your profile under that experience, and could help counteract any misinformation. Written statements can be quite useful and compelling. Be sure to be as specific as possible when asking for recommendations, so people will know what you want them to say.
3. Build your strong reputation and supportive network by creating a deeper and more powerful digital footprint (via writing content demonstrating your expertise and forming alliances with other thought leaders in your field). Building a strong online reputation is useful for anyone in a job search. When you enhance your network and what people have the opportunity to learn about you online, petty rumors become less damaging because people have the opportunity to make their own impressions — even before they meet you.
4. Take a risk and address rumors head on with hiring managers. Once you find out you aren’t in the running for the opportunity any more, you can approach someone in charge of the search and mention that you’ve heard a rumor of someone saying untrue things about your work history, and you were wondering if that may have affected your chances.
This strategy may be more helpful if you have written recommendations regarding the same job experience. You’d prepare a speech of sorts to address the issue. It’s a bit of a risk, but some may say you’d have nothing to lose at that point.
We all know employers are hesitant to hire anyone who may have an unfavorable baggage. However, we all understand that rumors sometimes take on a life of their own, so it’s possible someone will give you the benefit of the doubt if you build a strong enough reputation and network to support you.
photo by Damian Gadal