Potential employer may consider social-media profiles before making hire

Controversial post on social media can prove problematic

HOUSTON – Resumes, college transcripts and social-media profiles? These days, a potential employer considers it all before making a hire.

U of H student Isabel Escamilla said she posts all the time on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

"I try to make people laugh. So, sometimes funny things. Things that happen throughout my day, usually," Escamilla said.

But Escamilla said there are subjects she will never post because she knows others are watching.

"I usually don't use foul language or I usually don't post about too...personal things. So I usually like to keep it kind of PG," Escamilla said.

Even if someone already has a dream job, a controversial post on social media can prove problematic, especially if their employer is listed on the profile. Some people have seen their careers go down the drain faster than they can click delete.

"It is not where you put your venting. You don't vent on social media," said Jennifer Dean, president and CEO of Dean's Professional Staffing.

Dean's staffing and recruiting firm places medical professionals at hospitals around the country. She's seen firsthand how one mistake on social media can cost a person big.

"Someone decided to take a selfie in front of the computer, and the patient's information was in back. The motive wasn't bad, but the fact is you could see the patient's information, which is a violation of HIPPA. That person had to be terminated because of that," Dean said.

A Houston-area funeral director was the target of criticism after a family complained he snapped a selfie in front of the Hearse.

This week, a Georgia educator was fired after she called first lady Michelle Obama a "gorilla" on Facebook -- a post that went viral.

The post was seen and shared by thousands, including a Houston-area woman who tagged the woman's school district.

Kara Singh, the social-media manager for Insperity Recruiting Services, said when someone lists their employer on a profile, that person automatically become a brand ambassador for the company.

"Anything that you put out there can be brought back to you and your company as well. When others see it, the first thing they're going to do is they are going to go and tell the employer, 'Is this the type of person that you hired? Do you know what this person is saying?'" Singh said.

Though it may be freedom of speech to post on your own social media page, there can still be consequences.

"It's not a freedom from your employer coming back to you and saying, 'You're having this adverse effect on our business because you put this out there,' and now they have a legal right to terminate your employment," Singh said.

With such a heated political season underway, Dean warns there is one subject job seekers should avoid at all costs.

"Politics probably should probably stay out of your social media altogether until you're hired. I would not, however, put that on social media under any circumstances," Dean said.

There are companies out there to help you clean up social media profiles. One of them, called scrubber, runs a search of all your posts and helps you remove the questionable ones for a fee. Visit www.scubber.social for more information on the company's services.