The next tweet you make may cost you your future job

BadtweetOnce again, the pitfalls of using social media rears it’s head and someone pays the price.

This time it’s not an internal department falling asleep at the wheel a la Burger King when it was hacked but something a little more worrying. Paris Brown is Britain’s first youth police and crime commissioner, a position she secured at the tender age of 17 and has yet to assume the role. However it’s a bunch of tweets made a couple of years ago that have come back to haunt her, tweets made that boasted about her sex life, drug taking and
drinking on her account @vilulabelle (now since taken down).

A sign of the times

But this isn’t anything new and is just a sign of the times. Apart from the public nature of the role Ms Brown has assumed, what it highlights is that there is a growing trend and need for background checks to take into account your social media activity and comments you’ve posted whether in jest or serious will come back to bite you. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is hidden.

You are what you tweet

Only recently did Reppler conduct a study (see the Infographic below) on just how widely used social media screening during the application stages of recruitment have fast become. Of those they surveyed:

  • Over 90% of recruiters are screening candidates through or using social media
  • 47% of employers look at social media profiles
  • 69% rejected a candidate based on their social media activity
  • Facebook and Twitter are being used to screen candidates at a very early stage of the process for personality profiling

Social profiling is the norm

Recruitment and Human Resources are using social media in deeper ways than before. It’s given rise to third party agencies who perform these background checks as a speciality.

So while we often joke about the Facebook after party photos making the public domain, anything you post is now being taken into account.

Read more about how social media and personal brand is more important than ever on Successful Workplace:

If you’re a loser online…

Are you a social media superhero

Personal brand in the social enterprise



Tags: , , , ,

Categories: Human Resources, Social / Collaboration, Story, Workplace Reality

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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6 Comments on “The next tweet you make may cost you your future job”

  1. April 9, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Excellent piece, Theo. Social media remarks can be like tattoos…easily created in a crazy moment of indiscretion and regretted for their permanence.

  2. Question? Last I heard it was illegal to use facebook in this manner. Basically, we no longer allow a person a separation between professional and personal life.

    ie…I may fully support a cause outside work and never take the position at work. Why? I am bound by professional duties to my employer and would be unethical if I pushed my personal agenda on others.

    I’m surprised neither of you Theo and Chris have touched on the bias and illegal nature of the problem this creates.

    Please help me uderstand the benefits and perhaps…

    • April 15, 2013 at 6:44 am #

      Lisa, not sure if anyone thinks that employers won’t check Facebook before proceeding with a candidate. What people put out in the public domain, readily searchable by future coworkers and customers, is absolutely a reflection of their judgement and maturity. We’ve done this forever, just not using Internet technology…we did it with references and ‘asking around’.

      • Chris,

        I am not surprised. I simply hoped more companies would re-enforce their positions with their employees about the importance of the spirit of the law to achieve fair labor practices.

        Let me show you how this practice contributes to the lower percentage of women and excludes certain populations.

        Excerpt; …should be avoided because they tend to impact more adversely on minorities and females.

        Example; If someone shares their current economic challenges on Facebook. The person does not understand the PUBLIC DOMAIN part of the equation.

        The security settings each person chooses allows them a false sense of security; settings choose “only me” or “just my friends” can view my profile and interactions.
        Inquiry into an applicant’s current or past assets, liabilities, or credit rating, including bankruptcy or garnishment, refusal or cancellation of bonding, car ownership, rental or ownership of a house, length of residence at an address, charge accounts, furniture ownership, or bank accounts generally should be avoided because they tend to impact more adversely on minorities and females. Exceptions exist if the employer can show that such information is essential to the particular job in question.

        Here’s the first disconnect. Most people are using computers for the first time, at least the audience Facebook has reached. In probably 35% of the situations the person is only using a mobile device.

        People see the application as something on a device they own. A computer or a mobile phone is an asset owned by a citizen.

        The average person truly believes the phone or internet carriers promises are honored. People DO NOT understand that Facebook is a public domain and that the security settings have been less than desired.

        I know this because I was one of the use cases used to show why background checks are so important. had not used a bank in 10 years, therefore the information on my credit report was a 2nd set of identity theft incidents.

        Funny thing is, I was never asked and the things on the internet about me are not accurate. Unfortunately, the processes are not in place to correct these problems.

        Also, my connections on Facebook reflect the work I do in the community. I am a gang intervention specialist who works with the highest offenders or most serious criminals on re-entry into the community.

        In addition, I work with domestic violence survivors. Basically, my personal life is devoted to giving back to those with the greatest need. Many of these women are forced into criminal situations by their abusive partners.

        If you or someone is unaware of my reason’s for having such connections or if I thought It might cross from personal into my professional life it would cause fewer people to help others in need.

        Basically, I understand your position. I don’t agree with the way average citizens think about the use of an application on a device or their home computer. I’ve been testing these theories with discreet time and motion studies. Few “if any” understand, none of my studies proved to be true.

        It is probably a moral and ethical one. It does give us all something to think about when we look at women and equal representation in the workforce.

      • Sorry for the delay in responding. I just think if it’s illegal to do something. Well, companies shouldn’t allow this to happen.

        It sends the wrong message. I personally do things for my community that people in Corporate America wouldn’t understand. I do this to help people. I am struggling with this being misunderstood. I’ve always separated my private and public from my professional life the two have nothing to do with each other. Perhaps, it seems odd that so much focus is placed on keeping people out of the pipeline.

        How does diversity or a culture of diversity come in beyond just a marketing message?

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