Did you know around 70% of employers screen your social media accounts in the hiring process?
Ok, I don’t know how accurate that figure is (because it’s based on one study), but I do know it is definitely becoming the norm for employers to look at your social media accounts when you apply for jobs.
As someone doing a degree in communications and media I have no escape from hiding any public social platforms I have from potential employers. If that is the fate I’ve been resigned too then what should I be posting on my Twitter account and blog? Are there topics I should stay way from? Issues I shouldn’t discuss? Will voicing certain political opinions actually get me fired/not hired?
On my twitter and even my blog, I don’t filter the dominant parts of my personality. If you go through the first few of my tweets, you’ll know my stand on many different politic issues, it’ll be very clear the kind of values I stand by, you’ll know that I have very strong advocacy for movements supporting and uplifting women of colour. These are some of the more political tweets you’ll find on my timeline.
Did I miss anything? pic.twitter.com/COR7lN5obg
— Ju-Hyun Park (@Hermit_Hwarang) 6 September 2017
THIS is ‘white man’ oppression.
We face criticism now. We were free from it, because others feared the consequences.
— Julius Goat 🦆 (@JuliusGoat) 12 August 2017
“And Charlottesville, too, is protesting.” https://t.co/QJcMmNk0I2
— charlene 🌟 (@charlenebose) 13 August 2017
Aside from politics, you also get glimpses of my personal life. My interactions with my close friends, my feelings towards some of the friendships I have and even some tweets about my family.
today gina let me hold her hand through a 90 min movie while we admired how all the women in the movie were so strong & dependable 💕😌 pic.twitter.com/piyEjaRetv
— charlene 🌟 (@charlenebose) 20 December 2016
“hi welcome to chillies” 🌶
my dad: haha we should say sorry we are going to garlic
…. why is he like this
— charlene 🌟 (@charlenebose) 8 January 2017
If employers are going to be looking at all these things: is there a line I should draw?
Let’s start with the politics. I’ve always been wary and careful about what I post – especially with issues surrounding race. Because I know I will be applying for jobs in Australia – where my employers will be predominantly white – and I’m unsure how they’ll feel about hiring someone with strong convictions on white privilege.
Just recently L’Oreal fired Munroe Bergdof over remarks she made of the Charlottesville protests, the company claiming she was “at odds with our values” in a tweet. Here is where I ask myself: am I willing to tone down my advocacy? should I be a little less intense when I post tweets regarding politics? (All these things I also think about knowing I have peers/lecturers from uni following me online too).
No matter how many conversations I have with myself on this issue, I always come down to the same conclusion – I’m not sure if I should or shouldn’t but I don’t want too. At this point, I’m happy to say I’ll cop whatever jobs I miss out on; if a company is actually using those tweets as a reason to not hire me, probably means I dodged a bullet (this is what I’d like to believe anyways).
When it comes to the personal, I post whatever I don’t mind anyone knowing about me. It could be my struggles with anxiety, funny conversations with family and things I’ve done with friends. I recognise some of these tweets might point towards consuming alcohol, maybe even on sex/dating, but they’re never explicit/crude (most of the time they’re quite funny). I think those are just part of the human experience, it wouldn’t stop me from doing my job to the best of my capabilities.
The thing about my twitter account is that it isn’t just those things. It isn’t just the politics and the personal. It’s also my values, what I can bring to the table, my lens of the human experience. It is part of who I am and who I will be as an employee.
If an employer can look at these tweets and based on an algorithm decide there’s something there that makes me not worth hiring, that means you wouldn’t have liked me in your company anyways. I know companies like to say all they’re looking for is a ‘professional’ online presence but that is a very loaded, very subjective word.
I will end this post with the title of Kris’s blogpost on public identities (which I definitely recommend reading) because it made me laugh and quite aptly summarises what I think: I’m ‘authentic’. Fire me.