A recurring theme in the news recently has been dire warnings from those in the recruitment industry warning of the consequences of posting too much personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Ina van der Merwe, chief executive officer of South Africa’s largest background screening company, Kroll, from an article in today’s IOL Technology says: We have had a number of instances recently where candidates passed all the elements of their background screening such as qualifications and criminal record checks with flying colours but lost out on the job opportunity because of vulgar or risqué behaviour on the Internet… In one instance, a female candidate with outstanding qualifications and great experience was not hired because she had a semi-nude picture of herself on Facebook.
This statement shows much that is wrong with society. It tells of unequal power relations between employers, doling out precious jobs to those fortunate few who please them, of having to act and wear masks to function in our day-to-day lives, and of hypocritical judgement on vulgar and risqué behaviour, whatever that is.
Sometimes I think as I get closer to my ideal world, I lose touch with the so-called real one. But I’d like to tell any employer who didn’t like my behaviour to get stuffed. I like the idea of the private and public world’s getting closer, and the personal being what counts. I would much prefer to see pictures of my employees tanked-up as they tango in a tangerine tutu with twenty-two transvestites, if that’s what counts as vulgar or risqué, than imagine them as a faceless, characterless automaton.
It all comes down to those power relations. If you’re not in a position to choose, and your potential employee might be offended, I can understand why you should be careful. But really, aim higher, and strive to find a role where you can be you, and not care about someone else’s perverted judgements.