Fired Over Facebook!

Posted by Aoife Gorey on Thu, Apr 05, 2012 @ 10:34 AM

The social network was only a short time in existence before organizations began screening job applicant’s profile pages pre-hire. It is common knowledge that the majority of employers today will visit your profile page before deciding whether or not to hire you.

A Microsoft Research study conducted last year showed how 70% of recruiters said they’d rejected applicants based on the information they found online. Furthermore, in a new survey commissioned by Reppler, 91% of companies are using social networks for screening.

Now before you rush to delete your Facebook account, there is an upside to showing a certain side of your personality online. In the same survey, 68% of the time actually having a social presence contributed to a person being hired. Use common sense and just be careful what you put online. This may seem like basic and simple advice, but employers are only going to increase using the internet for references.

You might think, “My Facebook is private, I’m safe.”  You’re not! This past month, we heard many stories of how employers are now requesting Facebook passwords for job candidates to proceed in the hiring process. You have the choice to decline, but then you will be declining the chance of this new job, unfair or not.

Last Sunday, two U.S senators asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether asking for passwords violates federal law. House Republicans this week defeated an amendment introduced that would have banned employers from demanding access to Facebook accounts. This amendment was defeated by a vote of 236 to 184 however it can always return as separate legislation.

Here are some examples of ‘what-not-to-do’ on social media if you would like to keep your job!

  • A woman called in sick to work, complaining of migraines and how she needed to work in a dark room, only to stay home and update her status all day.
  • A British woman serving jury duty posted details of the case she was serving on asking her friends' opinions!
  • A 22 year old waitress blasted two customers on Facebook, that she felt stiffed her on a tip.
  • 13 Virgin Airlines crew members were fired after discussing their jobs on Facebook. They even shared technical details of the airplanes, and insulted customers.
  • A woman claimed she was depressed and was living off disability insurance for 4 years, her Canadian insurance company saw her ‘relaxing at the beach’ on her Facebook page.

Read about more stories like these here and here.

So tell us what you think! If you desperately wanted a particular job would you hand over your password? Is it too much of an invasion of privacy? Do you know people that have been fired over Facebook?

Let us know your thoughts and stories in the comment box below, or on Facebook and Twitter. #ProfilesBlog

Check out our recent post on 6 Social Media Landmines for HR Professionals to Avoid.

Topics: Employee Turnover, hiring, Social Media