Earnability Calculator Explained

Summary: This guide takes you inside the research, data, and design behind BrandYourself’s earnability calculator. This feature reveals how much your online personal brand is costing you or earning you annually.

What the Earnability Calculator is

BrandYourself’s proprietary Earnability Calculator technology quantifies growth opportunities you may be missing. Our software takes into account professional wins you may be missing because employers are finding red flags or that you’re not effectively promoting yourself across the web. Once our algorithm calculates this, it shows you the amount of money you are earning or losing annually based solely on your online presence.


How the Earnability Calculator works

1. We start by using the latest industry research to quantify the extent to which you’re being screened online. Studies show you’ll now get screened online at virtually every stage of your career, and your earning potential is at stake each time.

  • 75% of hiring managers screen candidates online, with 70% doing advanced social media screening using technology to perform deep searches.
  • 65% of potential clients look up freelancers before hiring them.
  • 85% of businesspeople look up the CEO before working with a company.

2. We quantify the known risk factors online that make employers less likely to hire you. Microsoft and CareerBuilder studies list the specific red flags in Google and on social media channels that employers use to turn candidates down.

  • Half of employers have turned down a hire because of something negative they found online.
  • Half of consumers have not done business with a company or freelancer because of something negative they found.

3. We quantify the known positive factors online that make employers more likely to hire you.
CareerBuilder studies show that employers will solidify their decision to hire you if they find positive factors that reinforce your personal brand.

  • 56% of employers won’t even interview you if don’t have a strong online presence.
  • Over half of consumers have chosen to do business with a freelancer or company because of a strong online presence.

4. We apply national salary, location and employment data to determine how much more money you could be making. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data allows us to analyze your industry and location to calculate the difference between your current and potential salary.

We use the latest CareerBuilder and Microsoft studies to estimate potential income loss due to the risk factors in your online presence that cause employers turn candidates down.

We then quantify the personal branding factors in your online presence that solidify employers’ decision to hire you.

By combining all of this data, we calculate one single number that estimates the impact of your online presence to your earning potential.

This objective, research-backed approach is the best possible approximation of opportunities you may be losing because of the current state of your online presence.

How the Earnability Calculator works with your Reputation Score

The Earnability Calculator and the Reputation Score offer you a way to better understand how your online presence is helping or hurting you when people screen you online.

The higher your Reputation Score, the better you look - and the greater the chances that someone finds positive, relevant, valuable information when they look you up online.

The Earnability Calculator shows you in a tangible way how much your online presence is earning or costing you on an annual basis.

By consistently following your Action Plan, or working with BrandYourself’s managed services, your Reputation Score will improve over time, as will the Estimated Impact of your online presence on your earning potential.

Why your Earnability Calculator matters

No matter where you are in your professional or personal life, someone is screening you online. These screenings are standard, and what people find about you online has the potential to open or shut doors for you. Your Earnability Calculator helps you better understand how your online presence is affecting your financial well-being. Below we’ve gathered statistics that show you the frequency and importance of professional screenings online by industry.

Check out the data below to better understand how your personal brand affects the earning potential for:

  1. Job seekers
  2. Freelancers and consultants
  3. Business owners
  4. Private practice
  5. Students
  6. Politicians

1. Job seekers

prep for job Employers look you up online whenever you’re…

Applying for a job.

75% of HR departments are required to look up candidates online, 86% of executives say they’re likely to search potential hires online, and 70% of hiring managers have rejected candidates based on online info . Whether you like it or not, you’re being screened on the web. And recruiters and HR professionals typically conduct deeper searches than you realize, often using advanced tools to dig up information about you. 87% of recruiters also source candidates on social media, so how you look online could make or break getting your next gig.

Asking for a promotion/raise.

One third of executives reported they review candidates’ Twitter profiles and 29% observe their blog postings before considering promotions.


According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, one in five internet users have searched online to find info about someone they just met or were about to meet for the first time, up from 11% in 2006. That means people you meet at a conference, event, or through a colleague will likely be trying to learn more about you. And half of online adults (48%) agree that getting to know new people now is easier and more meaningful because you can learn things online about the people you meet. So what they find can determine whether or not they choose to offer you the next big opportunity in your career.

You’re losing job opportunities if employers find:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information – 46%
  • Information about a candidate drinking or using drugs – 43%
  • Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, etc. – 33%
  • Candidate bad-mouthing previous company or fellow employee – 31%
  • Poor communication skills – 29%

You’re increasing your job opportunities if employers find:

  • Background information supports job qualifications – 44%
  • Site conveys a professional image – 44%
  • Personality comes across as a good fit with company culture – 43%
  • You’re well-rounded, show a wide range of interests – 40%
  • Has great communication skills – 36%

2. Freelancers and consultants

Potential clients look you up online whenever you’re:

Selling your services.

65% of Internet users consider online searches the most trusted source of information about people and companies. That’s a higher level of trust than any other online or offline source. If you want people to feel comfortable buying from you, you need to make sure they’re finding information that builds their trust – not nothing at all (or worse, red flags, which we’ll cover below).

Closing a deal or partnership.

According to our study, among U.S. adults that have searched someone online, nearly half (42%) have searched someone before doing business with them, and 45% have found something that made them decide NOT to do business. Your ability to close deals depends on having an online presence that helps, rather than hurts you.

According to Jobvite, you’re losing potential clients if they find:

  • Profanity, grammar and punctuation errors (triggers negative reactions among recruiters over 60% of the time)
  • Posts/tweets of a sexual nature – 71%
  • Profanity in posts/tweets 65%
  • Spelling grammar errors in posts/tweets – 61%
  • References to guns – 51%

Less obvious red flags include (monster.com, bestcolleges.com, upwork) :

  • Too private on social media (you either have something to hide or nothing to show)
  • Fake followers
  • Inactive online
  • Providing too much information
  • Your service rates (low rates can make you look unqualified, high rates can seem unaffordable)
  • Lack of online proof of your abilities
  • Difficult to get in touch with
  • Your niche is unclear

You’re attracting potential clients if they find:

  • Positive content about you published by reputable sources
  • Positive reviews published by previous clients or customers (monster.com)
  • According to sparehire, a strong portfolio/ examples of your work online
  • A clear picture of what you’re best at, according to upwork

3. Entrepreneurs and business owners

Potential customers, partners, and investors look you up online whenever you’re:

Selling products.

85% of consumers use the Internet for research before making a purchasing decision, and 79% of place equal weight on both online reviews and personal recommendations. And 63% of consumers need to hear something at least three times before they believe it, so if you aren’t reinforcing positive concepts and shaping the conversation when they’re doing their research, you’re losing business.

Recruiting and retaining talent.

Executives report that a strong online reputation helps attract 77% and retain 70% employees . It’s easy to see why: people want to work for someone reputable that they can trust. If they can’t find any info about you or your leadership team, that’s a red flag.

Raising money.

According to Weber Shandwick, among the significant benefits reported by executives from a CEO’s positive online reputation, 87% cite the ability to attract investors. If you want someone to write you a check, you can be sure they’re doing their homework on you first.

Talking to reporters.

83% of executives report earning more positive media attention due to a positive online reputation. The press will always research you before running a story, and a positive online presence is an opportunity to shape their story. Otherwise, you’re leaving the narrative to chance.

You’re attracting business if people find:

  • A CEO who is active on social media: 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media.
  • A company and CEO that they trust: 82% of consumers are more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage on social media.

4. Professionals with a private practice

Potential clients and patients look you up online whenever you’re…

Growing your private practice.

Over 45% of respondents in one study were willing to see an out-of-network doctor if he or she had more positive online reviews than an in-network doctor. And 40% of patients deem physician rating sites as “very important” for choosing a physician. But it’s not just doctors: 44% of online adults search for info about someone whose services or advice they seek in a professional capacity, like a lawyer or plumber.

You’re losing business if people find:

Bad or non-existent provider reputation. According to 72% of consumers: provider reputation and personal experience are the top drivers of provider choice.

You’re attracting business if:

People find high quality and relevant information and positive reviews.

5. College applicants

school img Admissions officers look you up online whenever you’re…

Applying to undergrad.

According to Kaplan Test Prep's 2016 survey, nearly half (40%) of admissions officers visit applicants’ social media pages to learn more about them — quadruple the percentage who did so in 2008 [2]. It’s a quick and easy way to rule out candidates, and see who’s a good fit. If your social media presence isn’t professional, you could be costing yourself admission to your top school.

Applying to grad school.

The same goes for grad school, where competition is even more fierce. You can be sure the admissions team will be scrutinizing your online presence for anything that might put you out of the running. So it’s vital your online presence backs up the qualifications on your resumé.

According to Kaplan, the specific triggers that make you even more likely to be searched are:

  • Interest in Talents: Some admissions officer say they will visit an applicant’s social media page — often by the applicant’s own invitation — if the applicant mentions a special talent, for example, such as being a musician, artist, poet, writer, or model. In fact, 42% of admissions officers reported an increase in such invitations compared to two year ago.
  • Verification of Awards: Citation of particularly distinguished or noteworthy awards can sometimes trigger an admissions officer’s online search for independent verification; as one officer noted, something “out of the norm.”
  • Criminal Records or Disciplinary Action: Some admissions officers say that if an applicant mentions they have a criminal background or a record of disciplinary action, they will do some online digging to get more details.
  • Scholarships: Students applying for special scholarships can come under greater scrutiny, as schools want to ensure those receiving the scholarships are fully deserving; extra due diligence can come in the form of online checking.
  • Admissions Sabotage: Anecdotally, admissions officers say they occasionally get anonymous tips about prospective students pointing them towards inappropriate behavior. They’ll sometimes dig online to see if it has merit.

You’re hurting your chances if admissions officers find:

  • 37% of admissions officers say that what they’ve found about an applicant positively impacted his or her application — and an equal percentage say that what they found negatively impacted an applicant’s admissions chances. Positive findings included discovery of undisclosed leadership roles or community service, while negative findings included criminal offenses, photos of drug or alcohol use, racial prejudice or inappropriate behavior.

According to Kaplan and others, you’re improving your chances if admissions officers find examples of:

  • Leadership
  • Engagement on LinkedIn: 80% of students who included links to this profile and were looked up by a representative from the schools where they applied and were accepted
  • Awards and honors
  • Extracurriculars (especially those not mentioned elsewhere on the application)

6. Public officials and politicians:

People look you up online whenever you’re…

  • Running for public office. Nearly a third (31%) of US adults, especially students and young adults, that have searched a person online have looked up a politician, and over half said the search influenced their voting decision.
  • Raising awareness for a cause.
  • Especially among the student population, 48% of college age students have looked up a politician online.

You’re losing support if people find:

  • You are not being proactive about managing your online image. 41% of students found something that made them decide not to vote for a certain politician.

You’re attracting support if people find:

  • Younger generations following your positive online presence. 35% of 18-34 year olds are more inclined to search politicians, and when they deem their reputation to be positive, 62% of students will vote for this politician.

7. Athletes:

According to Cornerstone, people look you up online whenever you’re…

  • Being recruited. 83% of respondents said that they (or someone on their coaching staff) conducted online research on at least one of their athletic recruits during the 2013-2014 recruiting season. The most popular social media platforms on which student-athletes are searched are: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 88% of respondents said they used Facebook, 82% said they used Twitter, and 54% said they used Instagram to perform research. 78% of respondents said that they believe they could get a better sense of a recruit’s character and personality by researching him or her online. 99% of respondents said that evaluation of the recruit’s character was either very important or important when deciding whether to pursue the recruit.

You’re losing support if recruiters find:

  • Inappropriate photos or videos (Illegal, lewd/sexual, reckless, etc.) (90%)
  • Offensive posts by the recruit (83%)
  • Inappropriate posts by friends of the recruit (50%)
  • Poorly written content (53%)
  • Aggressive language (70%)
  • N/A (3%)
  • Other (5%)

And remember, 80% of respondents have seen something online that has given them a negative impression of an athletic recruit. Also, a staggering 97% of respondents believe that negative content could harm a recruit’s prospects in some way.

You’re attracting support if people find:

Proof that you have good character. “A staggering 79% of college coaches stated that character was “very important” in their decision to pursue a recruit, and 20% of coaches claimed that it was “important” in their process”. 86% of respondents have seen something online that has given them a positive impression of an athletic recruit. 79% of respondents believe that a strong and positive online presence can give one recruit an advantage over another recruit.

Recruiters and coaches find evidence of the following traits play the biggest role in their decision to:

  • pursue a recruit:
  • Maturity (25%)
  • Self-motivation (39%)
  • Enthusiasm (10%)
  • Leadership (13%)
  • Empathy (1%)

The online content most likely to give coaches a positive impression of a recruit, according to 66% of coaches, is mention of non-athletic achievements, including academic awards and other successes off the field or court.

The types of online content likely to give coaches positive impressions of an athletic recruit include:

  • Press Coverage (48%)
  • Mention of athletic awards (52%)
  • Mention of good play in competition (53%)
  • Well-made highlight reel (48%)
  • Mention of non-athletic achievements (66%)
  • Personal blog posts (28%)
  • Work that a recruit has done online (such as a website) (18%)
  • N/A (4%)
  • Other (8%)


People look you up online whenever you’re:

  • Dating. Almost half (43%) of online U.S. adults that have searched someone online have searched a potential date, significant other, or ex boyfriend/girlfriend.

You’re losing dates if people find:

  • Weak images – That includes hunching, obscuring your face, and pictures that don’t really look like you.

    You’re attracting dates if people find :

  • Common interests– 64% of online daters say common interests are the most important factor
  • Strong images – 49% of online daters say physical characteristics are the most important factor. Also, research suggests that we’re more attracted to people in expansive — as opposed to contracted — postures, so take up space in the frame, and smile.
  • Travel – According to cnet, people who show pictures or talk about travel are 30% more likely to exchange messages that lead to a conversation.

Your online reputation is important now more than ever. You are subject to online screenings at any moment. BrandYourself’s proprietary DIY software identifies how your personal brand is helping or hurting you with its features like the Earnability Calculator and the Reputation Score.

Follow your Action Plan to improve your digital presence and reach your earning potential.

your action plan

If you still have more questions or don't have the time to do this on your own, contact us! Give us a call at 646.863.8226 or schedule a free consultation to discuss your options with a Reputation Advisor.

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