In the last decade, social media has become an almost vital part of our lives. Nearly everyone has some type of online presence, be it on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. We use these sites to talk to people, make plans, share pictures and memories and, of course, tag our friends in countless memes. Depending on how long you’ve had your Facebook or Instagram, it can be a labyrinth of dodgy selfies from 2010, odd jokes on your wall that only your friends can understand, and then there’s the less than flattering pictures of many, many nights out.
So when it comes to looking for a job, should your potential boss be allowed to stalk through your social media page the same way you stalk your ex? If they don’t like what they see, should they be able to show you the door? Absolutely not.
Our social media pages are a unique place where we go to laugh, share and connect with our peers. To say that an employer could fire someone based on a few saucy pics is outrageous. This is our personal space, separate from our work life and an escape from the hum-drum. It is not serious and it certainly isn’t professional and quite frankly, is none of your boss’ business. Most of us don’t even want our families to see our Facebook pages, not because they’re incriminating, but because for the most part, they’re usually a bit cringe.
A recent study showed that over 70 per cent of employers are screening potential employees based on their social media accounts, which is shocking. The highest percentage of what turned them off went to “provocative” photographs, which was quickly followed by posts about alcohol. What should matter to employers more is that you have relevant experience for the role you’re applying for and that you are a professional, reliable person, not that you have a few pictures on your Facebook from a wild night out three years ago. They are your pictures, your property and no one should have the right to judge someone based on a photograph (unless you just killed a lion and posted that on your page, now that’s a whole other story).
It is concerning how popular this trend of cyber stalking potential employees has become. The only way to prevent it is to put your social media accounts on private, so only your friends can see what you’ve posted. Either that or you’re going to have to delete almost everything off your page and constantly screen what you’re being tagged in. Imagine how boring Facebook would be if everyone deleted all their old pictures and only posted in their Sunday best? Yawn. If my future boss can’t handle the questionable outfits of my youth or my love for doggo memes then they sure don’t deserve me working for them.