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Grads Believe Their Social Media Posts Are “Fair Game” for Prospective Employers

Grads Believe Their Social Media Posts Are “Fair Game” for Prospective Employers

Aug 16, 2017, 9:00:00 PM

Law school graduates from the class of 2017 don’t object to prospective employers scoping them out on social media. According to a new Kaplan Bar Review survey of over 700 aspiring attorneys, 78 percent think that it’s “fair game” for prospective employers in the legal industry to visit job applicants’ social networking profiles like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to help them make hiring decisions*.

Law school grads who think it’s appropriate for employers to vet prospective employees using social media shared the following opinions:

  • “A person's social media presence is an extension of who they are and who they want to be perceived as. You could have a completely capable candidate for a position who meets all of an employer's qualifications on paper and in an interview, but if the person acts in a contrary manner on social media it can not only affect what potential clients think about the attorney, but also about the employer. “
  • “It's useful to know what kind of person an applicant is, particularly their personality and temperament, as opposed to what goes on a resume. Use of these sites is voluntary and if an applicant doesn't want an employer to see the things they post then they shouldn't post them.”
  • “Professionalism does not stop at work. When you represent your company, especially within the legal field, you have a higher level to uphold. The best way to truly see a person is how they act on their personal page and majority of the time it shows their true character.”

Those who object to prospective employers using social media this way opined:

  • “Attorneys should have an ethical standard that they hold themselves to, however, what I choose to do in my personal life is what I do in my personal life. There is no reason that an employer should try to see what I do during my personal time.”
  • “An applicant's personal life is separate from his professional life and that separation should be honored especially when employers solely want someone who will be proficient in their work environment.”
  • “Employers hired people before social media existed based on what they had in front of them, and didn't need to judge people's social lives to make their hiring decisions. I'm not sure why they would need to do so now.”

Additionally, 66 percent of recent law school graduates say that it’s acceptable for a state bar’s fitness and character committee to visit law license applicants’ social networking profiles to help them make decisions about who gets admitted to the bar.

Just 7 percent of survey respondents say that they would be concerned about prospective employers or a state bar’s fitness and character committee finding posts that would negatively impact their nascent careers.

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