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Twitter antics don’t represent my skills

By River Reporter Apr 25, 2013

The River‘s Lesley Anne gives her views on social media profiles and their effect on our ‘professional existence’.

Lesley Anne Morley

It’s a well-known fact that most teens talk nonsense and, let’s face it, so do most ‘grown-ups’.

The rise of social media and the viral nature of the internet simply mean more people can read all about it after our comments have been shared, liked and retweeted. But are employers are really hunting down our social media faux pas to thin out the herd of applicants for a job?

Ghost of hangovers past

Rumours of organisations approaching Facebook to gain access to user logins and passwords to screen potential candidates may ring true in the USA, and The Careers Group at the University of London states that this highly unethical practice has likely reached the UK (in a very small number of occurrences). We should be more worried about our public profiles.

It feels like more employers are surfing the net to find out stuff about job applicants and interviewees through the pictures and comments they post on sites like Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, but should we fear the ghost of hangovers past?

Would all be unemployed

Paris Brown, the poor 17-year-old who was forced to quit her job as youth police and crime commissioner in Kent is still feeling the effects of some ill-worded tweets. But her situation is unfair, overblown and not something that happens every day.

If we were all refused jobs based on stuff we said when we were 17, we would all be unemployed.

Who we are and how we’ll perform on the job should not be based on what we have posted to one social media site or another. 

Assassinate my character

Our personal lives are just that: personal and private.  Most of us are capable of separating that life from our professional existence.

I’ll admit there are pics that can be found in my Facebook pages I wouldn’t want a future boss to see – hell, I usually don’t want my friends to see them (Note to self: delete shots of drinking games while dressed as a pirate), but I would defend them to anyone who used them as fuel to assassinate my character.

That’s only one side of me – the side that needs to let go after a hard working day.

It’s also naïve of anyone to assume that people in supervisory roles suddenly stop saying or doing stupid or inappropriate things because of a flashy promotion.

“I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours”

I’m curious to see how a potential employer would react  at the point in the interview where they ask if I have any questions if I said: “I’ve peeped your Facebook and I was wondering if you often find yourself waking up bent over the toilet like I saw in that picture of you from New Year’s Eve 2008.  Does that affect your ability to be a good team leader?”

Should the antics of my private life, past or present, ever come up in an interview or was I asked to share my Facebook details, I might be tempted to say: “I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours,” (though I might risk losing out on the job for an entirely different reason).

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