The Cost of (Personal) Social Media Accounts

New year, New articles to curate, New stories which just cause me to shake my head. One such story which has been making the rounds starts in (not-so) Merry England where “A human resources executive was forced from his job because his employer found his resume online and that he would consider career opportunities”. The site (Linked In) is home to pretty much all professional resumes in circulation. In fact, it is probably one of the first site one applies their profile to when establishing an online profile; next to the other two sides of Social Media- Facebook and Twitter.

When one establishes their Linked In profile; and this is a sticking point for me when looking for connections to add to my network which will provide mutual benefit, I find one of two results-> The profile is full of easy to read information and is complete; or there is no information and I am forced to move on, not wishing to connect with a ghost…back to the story…

The fact that probably a good 90% of the working population has some representation on Linked In, Including the majority of this individuals (former) company leads one to wonder why a competent employee would be let go for a minor (read: fixable) transgression. Was it ever brought to his attention how the company wished him to be represented on the network? Was there a written form or list of expectations of how his accounts would be handled? (personal vs. professional); and if not-> Where was the problem?

Upon starting any new position, there is usually a lot of paperwork to be done and regulations to be read and initialed that imply you understand the company structure and you will be the dutiful employee, you will tow the company line, and shout the company mantra long and loud, even after the two of you have parted company. Soon (if some companies haven’t already) there will be forms to tell you how you will be professionally marketed so you fall into the company image.

This I have no problem with, where my issue comes forward is that, at the end of the day, I am ME; Meaning that unless the company is paying for my service 24/7, I am going to have some say in my image (professional and personal). If this company truly had a problem with which boxes were and were not checked off on a Linked In profile, possibly a better (read:quieter) way to handle it would be in the form of a company meeting or memorandum explaining which boxes were okay. Personally, If I am holding a strong position (or even if I wasn’t), the last implication I would leave is that I am currently looking to move on. (read: error made by individual). The boxes are all listed at the bottom, and I’m sure the company will give some leeway on how a profile is written to compliment both the person and the company.

For something to truly be monitored and enforced it has to be on everyone, not just certain people, and certainly not in such a way that the aroma of ‘single-out and replace’ lingers in the air.

New Year, New world, new set of standards are being established. I still believe strongly that my social image is something I OWN. Slavery ended a long time ago; and ‘The Man’ just has to set a bar of understanding for all. I am a sub-contracted employee to any company providing me with the means to make a living. When that agreement has been breached by either party, then change is expected; otherwise work it out and business as usual, because what is expected of one should be expected of all.

Next time: The other fireball burning up braincells: WHO owns my Social Identity? I’ll give you a hint, and validate my point.

Time to look at my Linked In profile; update it for 2012 and then tune up the cowbell.

Something To Think About.....

Sourcers’ Apprentice/ The Daniel J. Smith

Views: 782

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 6, 2012 at 11:30am
He admitted that he had disclosed that the company had "inadequate and ineffective global resource planning, Lacked active talent management" and he highlighted on his profile that the president of the Italian branch had been arrested for corruption. He also admitted that perhaps he did put too much information on his profile. In fact he resigned in June, albeit he certainly may have been forced to resign. He was offered three months severance if he agreed not to pursue legal action but refused.

Who knows how all of this will come out. It looks to me like he singled himself out by posting too much information of a derogatory nature which the other employees who had checked the career opportunities box had not done but we will have to watch how this ends up. But they didn't just walk in and fire him for having the "looking for career opportunities"box checked. According to the news reports he does have another job.
Comment by Tracy Wanless on January 6, 2012 at 12:41pm

In relation to the boxes you check for contact purposes i.e. "career opportunities" Is it standard and automatically checked unless the user unselects it? I find that the majority of people I reach out to for an opportunity BECAUSE that is marked, they respond that they aren't interested in changing jobs. (THEN WHY IS THAT ON THERE?)  As a recruiter, it's very frustrating. As an employer I don't think it's something that should be a firing issue - more of a reason to address social media like you said if there's a concern with it.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 1:21pm

This is one of my problems with alot of the profiles out there. People are quick to say they are on Linked In, or any of the others but NOT take the time to fill the profile in completely where it is relevant for them. Whether or not the boxes come pre-checked (which I believe they were) it only takes a moment to review your profile 'as others would see it' and ensure you are showing "THE YOU" that you wish to expose. 

Comment by Darryl Dioso on January 6, 2012 at 3:05pm

I knew there had to be more to the story than simply checking "Open to career opportunities". No employer can dismiss you for that - that's wrongful dismissal plain and simple.   

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 3:58pm

There is always more, but even using it as a "smoke-screen" should have other organizations check that they are not open to the same mis-information

Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 6, 2012 at 4:36pm

The "open to career opportunities "is checked by default when you set up a profile.  a lot of people don't even notice it when they set up the profile until recruitiers start calling them.  Setting up profiles is almost a full time job unto its' self.  Daniel is correct that we should all go back and look at the way our profile looks or have someone else take a look at it and give us feedback as to how they perceive it.


In this case the company took the position that with the derogatory statements plus information he provided as to how he had overcome some of the problems (they felt that was release of proprietary info to further his career options) in addition to him being "open to career opportunities"  it was misuse of social media.  I believe he was initially asked to remove two paragraphs from his profile which it seems ,from the news reports ,he preferred not to do so it appears that having the box checked was a minor part of this and probably would not have been an issue without all of the other verbage in his profile.


However, i have several clients who have sent out a memo to employees that indicates if they have social media profiles indicating that they are open to contact by recruiters it will be assumed that they are looking for other jobs and may be asked about it by their supervisors.  It's funny to me that people will go through all kinds of gyrations to prevent their current employer from finding out they are looking then you find their resume on one of the major boards or on one of the social networks with a blantant indication they are open to contact.  I have had to tell candidates that ,believe it or not, the internal recruiters with their company use the boards and the social networks  and will notice if their resume is posted somewhere.  Most recruiters do not look at Linkedin as a cozy little site where folks just go to meet people in their niche.  Most see it as  a quasi job board not a social network.


I don't know about the laws in England or Canada but in the US in a right to work state an employer can term you if they don't like the way you part your hair and you can quit if you don't like the way the office smells.  As a practical matter most companies don't fire someone for looking but if they think you are it certainly impacts your "career path" and they may be "open to applications" for your job and find someone who just might be better at it who does not think they have the right to talk crap about their employer all over the internet.  That internet highway runs both directions.  Think about how you might feel if you found a posting on the net that sounded like your job.  hmmmm.

Comment by Daniel J Smith on January 6, 2012 at 4:51pm

Sandra, up here in Canada it is much the same way, whereas the employee has a job as long as it suits the employer. A 90 day probation doesn't mean much anymore when it comes to tenure or whether you can do the job; because usually after a month the company knows how much use they can get out of you. Because of the uneasy job market where no one is 100% protected (even in a union, although members are tougher to let go), I think it is best for each employee goes in 'eyes open' and that they have done their due diligence on the company before accepting the job offer. The most popular words when weeding out non-productive employees seems to be 'Downsizing' or 'reorganization of talent' or 'new employment structure'.  I suggest anyone that is reading this start reviewing their profiles, and make yourself as professional in print as you wish to be seen in person. Alot can be said/ found out about a candidate before the first meeting.


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