The need for caution on social media has become increasingly apparent the further we dive into today’s growing digital space. This is especially true when it comes to candidates and how they can be perceived by future or current employers.
In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the risks and questionable activity associated with how we behave online and its effects on work. Apparently it needs to be said again.
The examples of such risks are everywhere. Earlier this year, a teenager was fired before ever stepping foot in the door of Jet’s Pizza in Mainsfield, Ohio after tweeting “Ew I start this (expletive) job tomorrow.” Catching wind of the public tweet, the owner of the store immediately fired the teenager – also over Twitter – for her remarks. Really??
This type of incident happened again just recently, when a single mom who was hired at a daycare in Texas was fired before ever going in to work for posting on Facebook: “I start my new job today, but I absolutely hate working at day care.” She then went on the news to say she was surprised she was fired!! Are you kidding me???
As social media usage continues to increase, candidates and employers walk a fine line when it comes to what is posted online. Employers can face discrimination or unconscious bias litigation if they do not make careful choices about what to take away from what they find online. Candidates are at risk of losing their job because of what they post, especially if it involves employer bashing, partying photos, or just plain stupidity!
So how do we tackle the problem of social media sharing as it relates to business and the workplace?
Job seekers and working professionals, take heed of a few suggestions:
Even if your Facebook is set to a “private” setting, nothing on the Internet is truly private. Some of us assume that those outside our network cannot see what we post, but because nothing online is completely secure, this can be a dangerous assumption. With a few simple clicks of a mouse, it’s actually quite easy to view your so called “private posts”. In the digital world, complete privacy is NOT currently possible.
Complaining about your terrible day at work (especially when naming the employer), insulting your boss, or even contributing to online “drama” (commonly referred to as “trolling”) simply looks unprofessional to potential or current employers. Keep it to yourself or tell a friend offline!! Do you really want to put these comments or expletives in wiring for all the world to see? Diaries used to be kept private and personal – social media is neither.
Understand the “time and place” rule between social media sites. There is no need for “selfies” or partying photos on LinkedIn, for instance. Because it is often the spot where trouble happens, creating a “personal” Facebook for friends and family and a “professional” Facebook for coworkers and employers might be the best route to take on that platform (Even though this is against Facebook rules!).
If most of this seems like common sense, that’s because it is!! If I could sum up the role of social media as it relates to employment, there would be one rule: DON’T BE STUPID.
Simply thinking before you post can help to avoid angering your employer, offending coworkers, offending future employers, or even being fired – rightfully so.