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I have heard that having an active SE profile is generally a good thing when it comes to the hiring process. However, is it possible for the reverse to occur? What are some examples of SE/SO history that could negatively impact your hiring chances? What sorts of things are employers looking for in a Stack Ex profile?

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Absolutely.

When I'm involved in hiring I do social media checks and searches of candidates just to see what I turn up. I've had many positive reactions (like, "this guy's actually pretty brilliant") and negative ones:

  • He's a misogynist, I don't think so.
  • Racist here, pass.
  • Clearly lying on his resume about his "gap" because he complained on twitter for weeks.

And I've even had one on Stack Overflow where the guy sold himself as an expert on a certain technology but his recent history on SO showed him asking questions that were painfully basic, indicative of a lack of knowledge as opposed to just a specific gap.

Everything about you that can be known helps people form an opinion. When I've looked at SO profiles I wanted to see intelligent questions or answers. That's huge. I simply want to be assured that I wouldn't be hiring an idiot or a poser and this is one more means of doing so. Having said that, I've never asked about their profile nor do I hold anything against one if they don't have one or put great weight in having one.

It's just another part of the package, that's all.

  • I guess if you ever see a Jon Skeet resume you may be a little biased :) – Nelson Sep 29 '16 at 3:09
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    @Nelson I'd probably be more concerned that we couldn't pay him commensurate with his abilities or that we'd provide enough of a challenge. :) – Chris E Sep 29 '16 at 13:05
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If you have a lot of well written accepted answers in a skill they want that is a good thing.

If you have questions and answers with a lot of down votes then that is a bad thing.

Questions and answer poorly written is a negative.

  • I never thought I'd see a day where "likes" would actually be a marketable skill. "I created a post with 4k likes!" "You're hired!" – Dan Sep 28 '16 at 19:06
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    If you have lot of well written accepted answers, you might be spending more time on SO than actually working :) – Adwiv Sep 29 '16 at 6:13
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Depends on how you say it. I wouldn't go around and market myself as the Stack Exchange guru. However if asked what online sites I might look, I'll say Stack Exchange.

Some people see it as a "copy-and-paste" solution. A lot of questions have people who answer it and you can simply copy-and-paste it without understanding any of it.

I think it depends on how you come across with your answer.

  • I would think answers posted online would be perfect candidates for interview questions that would allow them to elaborate, defend or apply in a different situation. That would be much better than the list of trivia questions most interviewers ask. – user8365 Sep 29 '16 at 20:41

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