By Anmolpreet Kandola, news correspondent
The Career Development Center at Northeastern University (NU) announced a partnership with a new app, Rep’nUp, which works to clean and monitor the social media accounts of students before they apply for jobs or co-ops. According to a March 28 Boston.com article, NU is one of 14 schools to join forces with the app.
Junior electrical and computer engineering combined major Naoki Yokoyama, who has previous co-op experience at medical robotics company Medtronic, said that maintaining an appropriate public profile is essential to appearing professional.
“To some extent, I think it is important to control what you make available for employers to see,” he said. “If an employer that isn’t even friends with you on Facebook can see inappropriate content, they can only imagine the kind of content you make available to those that do have more accessibility to the things you share.”
Rep’nUp, created in 2013, was co-founded by Eran Borenstein, a former Microsoft employee, and Lior Tal, a cybersecurity veteran who has founded other startups acquired by IBM and Intel Security-McAfee. According to its website, the goal of the app is to review all of a user’s posts, comments, likes, shares and visual content associated with the account.
The app’s algorithms scan social media profiles for inappropriate and sexually explicit content, as well as content with alcoholic beverages. A written report detailing problematic content is sent to the user alongside strategies to hide or delete it. For users that pay to upgrade to the full version, Rep’nUp will also provide direct links to every piece of content that is believed to be harmful.
“I think using an app like this would be interesting,” Yokoyama said. “It would be nice to be able to screen my online presence and remove anything that I may not want to keep available to employers or friends that can access that information.”
Despite the desire of some to keep personal lives outside of a professional context, surveys show that a growing component of job applications is a clean social media profile. According to Jobvite.com, over 93 percent of recruiters and employers review social media profiles for potential employees.
Senior finance and management information systems combined major Manit Ghogar, who has worked on co-op for MasterCard, said he is aware of the potential damage a poor social media presence can have in the job market.
“Personally, I do not have much inappropriate content on my social profiles,” he said. “I guess I am pretty conscious about that when I post things. However, it is important to revise your profile, as it could very easily be the deciding point between getting and not getting the job.”
Some students say that employers should not put as much weight on social media profiles when choosing who to hire.
“While I think it’s important to tailor social media accounts to appropriate standards, I disagree with the amount of scrutiny that we are under for our private accounts and how they affect our job applications,” said freshman computer science major Alec Li.
Ghogar said that students should still be conscious of what they like, share and say online, and that automatic apps like Rep’nUp can remove potentially harmful content or locate risky posts that users may have forgotten about.
“While I do not manually review my social media profiles to remove inappropriate content before each interview, I would consider this app,” Ghogar said. “It seems relatively frictionless and will, in a way, do all my dirty work for me.”
Photo by Alesia Garret