New post on UoN’s Careers Blog!

New post on UoN’s Careers Blog!

So, now that I have finished recruiting for my most recent interview study (thanks to all who participated!), I can finally displace my Call for Participants post with a brand new, shiny link to the rather wonderful University of Nottingham Careers Blog!

Why? Well ok, because I have a post on there referring one of my PhD research studies, but it’s not all about me, me, me you know! Even if, admittedly, it is a little bit. Anyway, the blog has some really good advice for students nearing the end of their studies and is definitely worth keeping an eye on for careers and employability tips. 



Calling All Interns & Recent Graduates Using Social Media!


Talk to me. Please. (Note: Research not officially endorsed by Terry Tibbs).

Hi there!

Are you a graduate who started working within the previous two years? Or perhaps a student currently on a internship placement?

Do you use social media?

If yes, I would really like to speak to you for my current PhD study!

Please take some time to read through the following information. If at any point you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me HERE.

What is the study about?

The study explores how young adults at the beginning of their career manage what their social media presence may say about them professionally as they transition from full-time study to the workplace.

What are you asking me to do?

I would love the opportunity to speak with you in an anonymous and confidential interview session, lasting around 60 to 90 minutes. I’m happy to arrange this for a time, date and location of your convenience – and am willing to travel if required.

The interview session will be divided into two sections. First, I’d like to explore the role that social media has played during your transition from student to employee; with a particular focus on any incidents where you required to think about your professional image. Second, I’d very much like to have a go in using two sites that try to help people to manage their online reputations and ask a few questions relating to this experience.

How will my data be used?

To help ensure that my data is accurate, with your permission I will record the audio of the session. Any quotes used in my thesis or resulting publications will be anonymised and great care taken to ensure that they cannot be attributed to you as an employee of your current organisation.

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. You may choose not to answer any of the pre-planned questions asked of you or to use the websites previously outlined. You may withdraw your participation at any time during or after the interview session up until any potential publication of the findings.

Will I be compensated for my time?

As a PhD student with very limited funds, I am really relying on your good will HOWEVER: your time and help is extremely appreciated and I am more than happy to acknowledge this via the medium of any refreshments that you would like during our interview!

If you have questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me or comment in the field below this post.

Thank you for reading this information sheet and I hope to hear from you soon!


Thinking about Employer Surveillance of your Facebook Profile: How Soon Is Now?

The following post was written for the University of Nottingham Careers Service Blog. You can check out the interesting work they do with University of Nottingham students here.

Imagine if you will, the following situation. You are in the final year of your course and are overwhelmed with emotions that veer wildly between the unbridled joy of finishing and the utter terror of the vast expanse of life that is, well… finishing. You are already starting to think about applying for jobs; perhaps even having made a few enquiries already.

Now consider the possibility that potential employers are trawling the web to see if you have a profile on Facebook. Further still, imagine that they are searching for any accessible photos or posts to gauge your suitability as a future employee. Ask yourself: how likely does this event seem to you? Is it more likely to happen to people like you, or to others? Do you think it is likely to be happening in the near future or more likely to occur only once you are closer to graduating?

On face value, these questions might seem a little odd but they all tap into a fascinating theoretical concept within social psychology known as ‘psychological distance’. This deceptively simple idea argues that the distance with which we think about something happening – whether in terms of how likely we feel it is to happen, whom it is likely to effect or how soon it is likely to happen – affects the ways in which we think about that event, such as how risky we feel it to be or how likely we are to behave in response.

Importantly, both you and I may be due to experience an event at roughly the same actual point in time (such as our date of graduation) but for you this may seem very far away, whilst for me it may seems extremely close. A range of research studies have consistently demonstrated that in this case, you would be likely to express little concern for aspects relating to the event (perhaps putting off ordering your gown, or making arrangements for guests) whereas I would be expected to be far more concerned and sensitive to the risks of not being prepared.


One of twenty ‘mock’ professionally risky Facebook posts used as stimuli in the study –
this one based upon a real post made by former Youth Police Crime Commissioner, Paris Brown.

It is this exactly this idea that I wanted to explore in my recent survey-based study of 257 final year students (47% based here at the University of Nottingham) searching for work in the coming year. Participants were asked similar questions to those asked of you above, relating to the psychological distance of employers looking at their Facebook profiles. They were then asked to rate how risky each of twenty mock Facebook posts would be to their career prospects if similar posts were to be found on their own Timeline.

So, did psychological distance predict perceptions of risk in the expected way? In short, yes! When student job seekers perceived the event of employers looking at their Facebook profiles as being psychologically close, they tended to rate the mock Facebook posts as being more professionally risky, and vice versa when the event was perceived as being distant. Furthermore, this relationship was observed when the Facebook posts were related to anti-social behaviours such as swearing or use of derogatory language, but not when related to more stylistic aspects, such as spelling or grammatical errors.

What we can take away from this study is an indication that job-seeking students vary in the extent to which they perceive the type of Facebook content identified by employers as being professionally risky as actually being risky to their own career prospects. One factor influencing this appears to be how psychological distant we feel the event of potential employers looking at our Facebook profile is. The implication then is that when we think of this event as being distant in time or unlikely to ever happen, we perceive professional risk as being lower and may perhaps even be more inclined to allow potentially career-limiting content to stay upon on our Facebook profiles. Given the increasingly prominent use of social media by employers to run background checks on job applicants, it would seem advisable for job-seekers to consider that possibility of this happening to them sooner rather than later.

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS: Interview Study on Digital Reputation Management!

Did you find yourself ‘cleaning up’ your Facebook and/or Twitter profiles during your most recent job search?
Are you now in full-time employment having graduated in 2013?

If the answers are ‘yes’ to the above, please read on!

If you have just arrived at my blog, then please allow me to introduce myself: my name is Chris and I’m a final year PhD candidate within the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham.

My research explores psychological factors that may be influencing how young adults manage their professional reputation when social media, and I’m particularly interested in people making the transition from full-time education to employment.

If you would be interested in helping with my current study, please allow me to outline what your involvement will be.

l would like to invite you to participate in a confidential and anonymous face-to-face interview session lasting for around an hour-and-a-half.

The interview session will be divided into two sections. In the first part, you will be asked questions about your current role and experiences of using social media during your job search. You will also be asked to think of as many instances as possible of where you, or someone else in your network, used Facebook effectively, or ineffectively, to convey a professional image during this period of transition.

In the second part of the interview session, you will be asked to link your Facebook account to two currently available reputation management websites, which aim to identify content associated with your profile that could have damaging professional consequences for you.

The interview session itself will be arranged for a time, date and location of your convenience during March 2014. In exchange for your time, I am happy to cover the cost of refreshments and am able to reimburse any reasonable travel costs incurred. Of course, you will also have also have my eternal gratitude and hopefully you will find the experience interesting!

To reiterate, participation in this study is completely voluntary and you are under no obligation to take part. Even with your consent, you do not have to answer all of the questions if you feel uncomfortable doing so and you are free to withdraw from the study at any point prior to, during or after the interview up until any potential publication of the findings.

If you are interested, then please contact me either on the following email: or the contact form below.

Thank you for your interest and I hope to hear from you soon!

Best wishes