Fired Because of Social Media


by Kimsua Lam

In the trash bin you go if careless grammatical errors riddle your resume, or poor judgment makes an appearance when choosing a username for your email address to use for professional purposes. Those were my thoughts a few years ago as I searched for new hires to bring on to my team. It’s astounding how little shame some people have when they choose to use email addresses with usernames like “downa5sgurl” or “playafolyfe” as contacts for professional resumes.

I can guarantee at least a dozen resumes made friends with crumpled up wrappers from lunch, old chewing gum, empty boxes that once held office supplies, and – oh yeah – neglect.

About a year later, I was helping one of my peers search for a new office manager. We went as far as researching the candidate’s social media networks and anything else we could find about the person on the internet. And let me tell you, they play a big factor in the decision-making process. I would say about eight out of ten resumes were discarded because of something we found online that didn’t coincide with professionalism.

Even the “personality” that is perceived on your social media accounts can affect whether or not you get hired for a job. If your posts are always dark and depressing and mostly entail you complaining about things, do you really think an employer would feel motivated to hire you right away? Or would it make more sense to hire someone with a good attitude because that good energy will translate into good customer service skills?

These are the questions you should ask yourself when posting about your “personal” life because your “personal” life may not be as private as you think.

I find that the younger generation has a harder time coming to grips with that kind of reality because social media has become a strong platform for freedom of speech. Opinions fly left and right without heed or caution. Privacy levels provide a “shield” for photos and posts that may not want to make friends with the public. But, unbeknownst to them, anything on the internet can be retrieved.

Take for example, the comments of McDonald’s employees in response to a customer’s video that entailed calling the customer a “low life” and recommending she “go run on a treadmill.” Even though the video post was done by the customer, the comments these McDonald’s employees made were what cost them their jobs. These remarks are blatantly rude and unprofessional – where did common sense go?

Regardless of whether or not your employment is at a fast food restaurant or at a job that may not fall into the lines of the work you’d like to be in once you graduate, the actions and remarks you make can determine the life of your career in the future.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism

4 thoughts on “Fired Because of Social Media”

  1. Hi Kim,
    Isn’t that some form of discrimination if you do not hire someone because of what you saw on their social networking site? Shouldn’t that be off limits to a potential employer?


  2. Hi Kim,
    I have to disagree. I believe that’s a form of discrimination if an employer will not hire someone based on what they see and view, in their opinion as “negative”, on their Social Media sites(s). FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, ect is separate from a site such as Linked-In which I believe is what the employer should be looking at.


    1. Hi Northcup,

      I have to disagree with you on that. Employers really should stop at nothing to find out about their potential employee. If they are one person on their LinkedIn profile but another person on their Twitter, employers want to know who exactly they’re hiring. I don’t think it would be discrimination unless the employer was not hiring the potential employee on the basis of race, class, gender, etc. But if the potential employee represents qualities on their other social media accounts that they don’t want represented in their workplace, they have every right not to hire them.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with Hannah. Although using social media as a tool to research a candidate can be sensitive territory, it is not a form of discrimination as long as age, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, or political views/beliefs do not play a part in the assessment. That’s not to say that social media should be the only tool or the “end-all” resource in making a decision in the hiring process. It should be used along with many other resources as a comprehensive and more well-rounded approach in the decision-making process. Furthermore, social media posts are almost like advertisements about a person. On the flip side, it may actually help a candidate get hired for a job. There could be a post about the candidate volunteering at a shelter and the hiring manager may see that as a benefit and not a detraction. At the end of the day, if there are concerns surrounding whether or not social media should play a factor in getting hired for a job, the candidate does have the option to set their account(s) to private.


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