Much has been written over the last few weeks about Google searches on applicants. In this week’s edition of the Riverfront Times, the lead story is about Kendra Holliday, author of the blog The Beautiful Kind. (Word of caution, this blog is as NSFW as you can get.) She has been blogging her personal stories for some time now, always anonymously. In honor of Coming Out Day this week, she has for the first time revealed her name and face to the public.
The story is an interesting one, but the part that caught my attention is in regards to her Twitter feed. Due to a glitch, her real name was, for a brief moment, attached to her feed. It was quickly corrected but, as we know, the Google never forgets. She was fired from her part time job at a non-profit in St. Louis because of it, being told:
“We simply cannot risk any possible link between our mission and the sort of photos and material that you openly share with the online public. While I know you are a good worker and an intelligent person, I hope you try to understand that our employees are held to a different standard. When it comes to private matters, such as one’s sexual explorations and preferences, our employees must keep their affairs private.” (For the complete article, click here.)
My post isn’t about her so much as it is about her employer. They were concerned about the image their organization projects to the public. This is the corollary of the “can I Google an applicant and not feel dirty” discussion. In my mind, I completely understand what was done and why. It’s unfortunate, and I would hope it was handled with grace, but I can see the issue for a non-profit.
At the same time, this is a cautionary tale to those that have worked to create an online presence. Never forget that what you put out there can be found, and you can be called to account for it. So be thoughtful.
So is it OK to do these searches on your team? And is it OK to act on it?