I said this to a guy who offered me a job on the condition that I shave my beard. He claimed his company had a policy against facial hair. I declined. I had to decline.
I bring up this incident because I'm hearing a lot of discussion about how social media is changing the world of job search and recruitment. In the age of social media, injustice happens more swiftly and anonymously than it did when I had to turn down a job because the company didn't like facial hair. Today, they might just look candidates up on Facebook and rule out those with facial hair or any other characteristic they don't like.
"Is it ethical for me, an HR manager, to look up people on Facebook and LinkedIn before I decide to interview them?" someone asked rhetorically to nobody in particular the other day.
Whether or not it's ethical, we have to assume she and other HR people are doing it.
By now, you probably think you know where this is going. You probably think I'm about to tell you what I told a crowd of University of Kentucky grads about the dangers of posting your radical religious or political views or your drunken Spring Break photos on Facebook. Yeah, I told them they should Google themselves and see what employers are going to see and then clean up what they can.
But in the limited time we had available I didn't tell them what I'm about to tell my blog readers. I didn't tell them that they shouldn't be ashamed of what they haven't done wrong. I didn't tell them that if they have to pretend to be someone they aren't in order to get that dream job, then maybe it's not really a dream job.
That's why I proudly and unapologetically fly my liberal flag knowing full well that doing so may cost me consulting gigs or job offers.
But someone who would discriminate against me because I am a liberal Democrat would probably also discriminate against a lesbian or a black or a Rastafarian.
And I don't want to work for a company that would do that.
And, oh, while I'm flying my liberal flag, let me invite all my liberal, Charleston, WV readers to the second meeting of the re-launched, re-loaded Charleston chapter of Drinking Liberally. We meet this Thursday, 19 November, at Tricky Fish, 1611 Washington Street East at about 5:30-ish. We welcome gays, minorities, animal rights activists, vegans, vegetarians, people with facial hair, people without facial hair and people who have the courage of their liberal convictions to turn down job offers from bad guys.
No knuckle-dragging conservatives or sentient beings were harmed in the formation of the Drinking Liberally chapter but we're not above making conservatives squirm.