Schoolies, social media and future work prospects

The news has recently been showing the usual images from the partying of schooler leavers at schoolies week on the Gold Coast. This year however, school leavers are posting, tweeting and sharing the good, the bad and the ugly from schoolies week without realising that these comments and/or pictures could affect future employment prospects when seeking employment in the New Year and beyond.
From an employer’s perspective, workplace culture is an important aspect to consider when hiring a new staff member. It is far too easy now to do ‘background checks’ on prospective employees through social media avenues and the sight of wild partying and nudity may deter employers from hiring.
Lisa Aitken, Managing Partner of Aitken Legal says employers would be hesitant to hire an employee who appears to be a heavy party goer and/or is displaying nudity/promiscuity on social media sites. Employers also do not want an employee who may turn up to work tired and hung-over, or not turn up because they are tired and hung-over.
“Employers prefer to employ people who display responsibility and maturity and who are unlikely to let their personal life impact upon their work life. If Facebook sites are public, clients can easily search for a person and all of their posted indiscretions are there to be seen and read. This may cause an employer concern in that it could damage the reputation of the business, particularly if they operate in a professional environment.”
“Employers would also be concerned if they read postings by a prospective employee on Facebook that are ‘trolling’ – that is, bullying in nature. An employer’s concern would be that the person may engage in the same conduct in the workplace.”
Therefore, it is really important that school leavers, and really anyone that uses Facebook, are very careful in what they post on Facebook as in an economic climate where they will face much greater competition in applying for jobs, these postings may be damaging to their employment prospects.
Key points to do when hiring a new staff member:

  • Check references
  • Ask questions about previous work experience
  • Google the person’s name and check social media sites for activity by the person
  • Have workplace policies in order to cover social media, email, internet usage
  • Have a good employment contract

For more information on workplace policies, social media or general employment law please visit www.aitkenlegal.com.au or phone (07) 5413 4000.