F-Bombs, Social Media and Law Students’ World of Opportunity
You may already be aware of the recent hubbub over an employer seeking the log-in and password for a potential job candidate’s Facebook account. You can read the accounting of the situation here and here. You can also read the backlash all over, but here are some examples to refresh your recollection about the inanity of the entire issue.
Since when should employers gain access to a job candidate’s personal Facebook account? When someone goes through the customary interview process that includes:
- Resume review
- Skype interviews
- Reference checks
- In-person interviews
- Background check
- School transcripts
- Writing samples
- Personality/behavioral profile assessments
- Review of bar exam scores and law school documents
…then why on earth should having access to a Facebook account tip the scale towards a to hire/not to hire decision?
What about this option?
The job applicant allows someone from the recruiting team to like their Facebook page for 24 hours and that person can go take a gander around the applicant’s timeline. Then, everyone agrees to unlike the relationship. This is not my preference; in fact, I have zero preference for abiding by these requests.
What opinion might you have on this, law students?
If you’re the final of two candidates for a choice position in a law firm and you get asked for your Facebook password as the final step before an offer, what will you do? There’s no certainty this will happen, but it’s a question you ought to prepare for.
There’s one more thought to share about the boundaries of social media, and this story comes courtesy of Above The Law:
A high school senior (with three months to go) was expelled, not suspended, due to his use of an f-bomb laden tweet he alleges was posted from home and not from school. The principal apparently monitors all tweets of all students at Garrett (IN) High School; this act was allegedly considered seriously egregious and the boy fell victim to the zero tolerance rule.
Hard core? In my opinion, absolutely…as said in Above The Law, the tweet (with a majority of f-bombs) was not bullying, did not attack a certain person, was not blaspheming faculty or the school and was written by a teenage boy with three months to go until graduation.
Watch for what the parents will do next to get their boy reinstated; should be interesting.
What these several examples boil down to are more of what’s to come. Those of you entering internet law, rights to privacy, protection of identity and, the scope of “fair use” and the boundaries of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act have a world of opportunity ahead with the convergence of social media on all aspects of employment, education, careers, personal and professional branding, and life in general.
Thoughts from Bruce MacEwen
“The real problem here is that “zero tolerance” mentality. Were these authorities never young? Did they never make a mistake? Did they never do anything they regretted later—possibly years later?
How about a small dose of plain old human perspective and common sense? Let’s face it: The overwhelming majority of private, personal activities are just that: Private and personal. They have nothing to do with job performance or job potential.
Of course, if those authorities can’t see their way to a modicum of temperance on this front, I have another idea: Job seekers can reveal their Facebook passwords on condition the children of the authorities do the same to the job seeker.”
What’s your thinking, dear readers?