By Nerino Petro at 21 July, 2010, 7:00 am
Here's some advice for both job applicants and employers doing the interviewing – don't forget social networking sites! There have been a number of stries over the past 18 months about job applicants who have had potentail job prospects crash and burn after less than thoughtful tweets and Facebook postings. Applicants need to get smarter about how what they tweet and post can impact potential employers and employers need to understand the world of social media.
While there are a number of articles and other resources that suggest that employers may be better off not looking at social meda sources prior to hiring (see here and here for just 2 of them) , there are more and more companies and firms turing to social media souces to find information on prospective hires. While many companies have created social networking pages to provide information on the company or firm and to lure more qualified candidates, individuals shouldn't be surprised t hat companies are expanding their background inquireies to the internet and social networking. If a company has strict standards about drug or other substance abuse, how do you think photos of you partying in CanCun are going to go over with them? While the photos of you doing shots in the barber chair might be cute, employers are generally not going to find it to be responsible behavior. There are a number5 of prospects and even emplyees that have been discharged based on their use of social medai like the CNN reporter here or here or my favorite about why job applicants who have been offered jobs shouldn't bad mouth potential employers here .
The Delaware Employment Law Blog sugested that employers, to avoid issues with using social media for backgorund checks, give applicants notice that they do so. In Notice to Job Applicants of Intent to Search Social Networks , Attorney Margaret DiBianca doesn't believe that employers need consent frrm applicants to look at their social neworrking sites but lays out her reasoing on why it is a best practice to to get this consent and to include a notice to applicants thatthey will in faact be doing this.
Employers do not legally need the consent of a potential employee to conduct an Internet search and to view what is otherwise publicly available. But the mere fact that something is not legally required does not necessarily mean that it’s not a good idea. In fact, I’m an advocate of notifying applicants not only that you intend to review the individual’s online presence, including his or her presence on social networks, but also the specific items that you’ll be looking for when you do conduct the search.
She suggests that if you are an empoyer and looking for specific language then you should consider that used by the fderal government:
For those employers who want specific language, though, I offer you a sample provided by the federal government. Here is what the feds now include on job applications:
As part of the agency’s review of your application, the agency may view and/or access publicly available information about you, including information publicly available on the internet, that is job-related and consistent with the merit system principles and prohibited personnel practices set forth in the Civil Service Reform Act, 5 U.S.C. 2301, 2302. No information from any source may be used to discriminate for or against an applicant based on race, color, national origin, gender, age, political affiliation, religion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a parent, membership or non-membership in an employee organization.
If you want more examples of how social media can cause issues for you as an aplpicant or an employee, just follow some of the links on in or at teh bottom of her post. Or run an internet search using "Be Careful what you tweet" and take a look at any of the results.
Even if you're not an applicant or an employee, but an otuside party providing services, you need to be careful. You do't want to something you post or teweet to upset a major client such as what happened to this presenter from a major advertising agency for FEDEX.
So remeber, think before you tweet.
A shout out to the folks at Law Technology news and Law.Com for posting on this.