Her smile and celebrations were quickly put on hold as evidence of previous ‘racist’ social media tweets arose. It’s important to note that the comments in question were made in 2013 and 2014.
Hay said she’s ashamed and that she was being a follower, trying to fit in with friends and influenced by the music she listened to. The beauty queen said she has since grown up and hopes that others will learn from her mistake.
The Twitter account where she posted the controversial tweets has since been made private.
How is this relevant to you as a Job Seeker?
Be aware that everything you post online, pictures you are tagged in, comments you make, and videos that you feature in can surface at any time.
It’s a fact that most companies conduct an online search for job candidates, and with the volume of applications that online advertisements create, employers are often looking for a reason to ‘dis-credit’ you as a potential employee. I can recall some rather ‘shocking’ images I’ve come across as I’ve googled potential candidates.
You have no control over the written word or printed image regardless of how long ago they occurred – comments that may have been made in jest, photos that were ‘staged’, conversations between ‘friends’, and the like are not necessarily going to be interpreted by someone who has never met you, as you intended them to be.
So what can you do?
Firstly go online and type in your name and see what appears. If there is something you are not comfortable with (or suspect an employer would not be comfortable with) then either remove it, or ask for it to be removed. You may need to approach friends and ask them to remove tags, or even approach a website directly and request them to remove it for you.
Secondly, think about what you put online in the future. Don’t let some inadvertent comment or photo be the downfall of what may be a great opportunity in the future.
Miss Teen USA seems to have managed to hold onto her crown for the time being, but perhaps it’s a lesson for us all in ensuring our online reputation accurately reflects who we are.
Author: Lyndal Clark
Lyndal Clark is a highly knowledgeable and approachable Career Coach at My Coach, and is well known for her ability to relate to and interact effectively with young adults. With significant experience in HR, Recruiting, Training and Employment Coaching, Lyndal is extremely successful in helping young adults transition into employment.
My Coach provides expert coaching in all areas of employment including creating compelling cover letters and stand-out CV’s and provides tailored 1:1 interview training and support. For further information: www.mycoach.net.nz, www.facebook.com/CoachLyndal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.