May 12, 2014
Many employers are scrutinizing job candidates’ online presences before making decisions, and a growing number of employees are losing their jobs because of their social-media posts, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 43 percent of employers said they had rejected a candidate because of something they found about that person online — such as inappropriate photos or information, or posts criticizing a former boss. A much smaller number of employers, 19 percent, said they had found information online that encouraged them to select a candidate, such as good communication skills or a professional image.
Nancy Flynn, founder of the ePolicy Institute, a firm that helps employers limit email and Internet risks, argues that management has a right and responsibility to monitor employees’ social media use at all times. Disgruntled employees can criticize customers, harass subordinates “and otherwise misbehave” on social media, she says. Strict monitoring helps employers spot potential problems early, get the information offline and discipline the employees involved, says Flynn, who also believes that companies should ask for access to employees’ Facebook accounts and other private social media accounts.
Others argue that company scrutiny of employees’ social media activities can lead to discrimination. Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, says that most of what employees post online “has nothing to do with work, takes place during their private lives and is done on their personal computers.” — Greg Beaubien